The government of Nigeria, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, is working to vaccinate 1.3 million people in order to contain the outbreak of yellow fever in affected areas.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Its symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, jaundice, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
WHO is supporting the Nigerian government through the Eliminating Yellow Fever Epidemics Strategy and Programme to assess the risk of epidemic, organise vaccination campaigns, raise community awareness and deliver further response activities.
The International Coordinating Group (ICG) is providing1.4 million vaccine doses, which are being administered in areas of Zamfara state with confirmed cases of the disease, as part of an immunization campaign begun on December 2, 2017.
The ICG maintains an emergency stockpile of 6 million yellow fever vaccine doses and is funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The release from the global stockpile follows earlier efforts in Kwara and Kogi states that immunised 874,000 in October 2017.
In total, 5,900,220 doses have been deployed for emergency vaccination campaigns in 2017.
The current outbreak started from one confirmed case in August 2017, with a total of 276 suspected cases now reported in 14 states as of November 21, 2017.
A pre-emptive campaign is being planned for the coming months to protect people living in areas at high risk of the transmission of yellow fever.
WHO’s efforts in response to the outbreak in Nigeria are part of the Health Emergencies programme, which aims to help the Nigerian government to build capacity, manage health emergency risks, provide treatment and relief to affected people and contain the outbreak.
Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said: “Last year we saw the largest yellow fever outbreak in 30 years hit Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo; we cannot afford to see a repeat in West Africa.
“The global vaccine stockpile is our last line of defence against the growing threat of yellow fever outbreaks.
“Of course, the most important long term strategy is high coverage of yellow fever vaccination in the routine immunisation programme.
“This shipment will protect over a million people in Nigeria, saving lives and, we hope, prevent a potentially devastating outbreak.”
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