The Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BSHCDA) says the state government has approved the use of an aircraft to spray the Yankari Game Reserve to fight yellow fever vector.
Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Chairman of the agency, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi.
“The governor has approved the use of an aircraft to spray the Game Reserve in order to destroy the vector,” he said.
Mohammed said that the exercise could only be conducted during the day, since the vector could only bite in the afternoon and evenings; therefore, the need to spray the whole game reserve.
He said that, as at Sept. 9, there were 34 suspected cases, with nine deaths and seven confirmed cases.
The chairman said that the 34 suspected samples were from Bauchi, Alkaleri, Toro, Tafawa Balewa, Dass and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas of the state.
“The 34 samples are from six local government areas, and we have sent them to Abuja for confirmation.
“The agency is expecting about 600,000 vaccines doses of yellow fever vaccines from the Federal Government to immunise residents of Alkaleri Local Government Area, host of the Game Reserve.
“Only three per cent of the residents will be exempted, and they are children under age of nine, the old, pregnant women, and HIV patient that is active.
“The irony of the cases found is that there is no woman and children; all the affected persons are men,” he said.
Mohammed said the death cases were all rangers in the reserve, adding the vector control spray of all the chalets and environment had already been conducted.
“Mosquito nets were also distributed to the 140 rangers because the symptoms are the same with Lassa fever and malaria,” he said.
Mohammed said that the disease has no human to human infection, but vector to human transmission.
He said that the agency on Sept. 9 vaccinated 1,700 youth corps members to be dispatched from the Orientation Camp against the disease.
The chairman said that all the patients were admitted at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi.
Mohammed said that plans were underway to use Primary Healthcare Centre in Gar Community of Alkaleri as a centre for control of the outbreak.
The chairman, however, said anybody entering the game reserve would be vaccinated, adding that the vaccine lasts for 10 years.
By Amina Ahmed