Ebonyi State government says Nigeria did not have reagents to use in verifying samples of victims who 'mysteriously' took ill and the government was forced to go to Cote D'Ivoire to carry out a test on the samples.

Dr. Daniel Umezurike, Ebonyi State Commissioner for Health, stated this on Monday in Abakaliki while addressing journalists, urging residents to take preventive measures to void contracting yellow fever.

Three of the samples tested positive to yellow fever on July 22, 2019, and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) consequently declared this an outbreak of yellow fever.

He said, “They discovered that a 34-year-old farmer was on admission in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) health facility with symptoms of fever and yellowness of the eyes.

“The index case was a seven-year-old child who took ill on July 2, 2019, with similar symptoms of fever and yellowness of the eyes but was referred to the General Hospital, Iboko.

“Four samples from the victims were collected and sent to the Public Health Laboratory, Lagos but due to non-availability of reagents, they were sent to a national reference laboratory, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.

“Three of the samples tested positive to yellow fever on July 22, 2019, and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) consequently declared this an outbreak of yellow fever."

The commissioner used this press briefing to clarify the report of an "unknown illness" in Ndinwigwe, Ndingele ward of Izzi Local Government Area, noting that the state’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) was deployed to the area to investigate.

“The summary of the situation is that the state has recorded nine positive cases (three polymerase chain reaction and six serology with two deaths,” he said.

According to the commissioner, six patients were presently on admission: three in Ndingele MDGs health facility, one in Iboko General Hospital and two in Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

“The disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes belonging to the eades and heamogogus genus affects all ages with an incubation period of three to six days following a bite from an infected mosquito.

“The disease symptoms which include jaundice fever, renal damage, and haemorrhage, among others, can be prevented with the use of mosquitoes barrier nursing, environmental cleanliness, especially the removal of stagnant water,” Umezurike said.

Umezurike urged residents to disregard conflicting information on the number of causalities from the outbreak, claiming that only two persons died.

He said, “This briefing has become extremely necessary following headlines in almost all the newspapers and media houses that 16 people lost their lives from the disease’s outbreak in the state.

“We have thoroughly investigated the report and found it malicious, misleading to the public as we visited the reported communities and interviewed members of the public.

“We found that none of the media houses actually went to the communities and that the villagers innocently attributed every death within this period to the disease which some reporters quoted without
authentic source.”

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