Yellow fever is a disease that is common among people in the tropics. This includes areas in sub-Saharan African and South America. It is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of the mosquito, but other species of mosquitoes can become infected with the virus by biting infected people and go ahead to infect other people as well. The term “yellow” comes from the yellowing of the skin and eyes, better known as jaundice. The common symptoms of yellow fever include headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, and so on. It is a life-threatening disease, and if not managed properly, it could result in death.
In Nigeria, there is a cycle of yellow fever breakouts that usually results in deaths, most times, because the people affected are unaware of the exact disease they have. As recently as November 2020, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in communities in Delta state, resulting in as much as 30 deaths. Nigeria is regarded as a high-risk country by the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy. Visitors who come into Nigeria from Europe and North America are required to take yellow fever shots to prevent themselves from the disease while in the country.
How Does Yellow Fever Spread?
Yellow fever is introduced into a community by the Aedes mosquito, which bites transmits the disease by biting one person. That person is known as the index case. Other mosquitoes become infected by biting that person and then transmit the disease to other people. This could lead to an outbreak as more and more people get infected. People living in rural communities in Nigeria are more exposed to the disease. For example, many of the people who died in Delta state in November 2020 due to the disease were farmers. Besides the living conditions in the rural areas, the lack of good healthcare facilities further confounds the problem, leaving the disease to spread without checks.
Symptoms Of Yellow Fever
Some common symptoms of yellow fever include:
1. Jaundice, which causes the skin and eyes to have a yellow hue.
7. Loss of appetite
8. Muscle aches
10. Renal failure.
Some of these symptoms appear during the acute stage of the disease, which affects about 15-20% of those who get infected with the virus. Usually, this happens when people fail to get medication on time.
Yellow Fever Prevention in Nigeria
Preventing yellow fever is much more important than trying to cure the virus. There is currently no treatment for the disease. However, there are preventive vaccines that provide lifelong immunity from the disease. In Nigeria, babies are mandated to receive yellow fever shots weeks after birth, along with other preventive vaccines. These vaccines are available to older people as well.
Another thing people can do is to protect themselves from mosquito bites in general. This includes sleeping under mosquito-treated nets, using recommended insecticides, clearing their surroundings, and dismantling areas that could be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Eliminating stagnant water and dirts in your environment. Also, make sure you visit the hospital whenever you symptoms of a fever.
Yellow Fever Vaccine in Nigeria
The yellow fever vaccine in Nigeria is free for children from 9 months old and above. It is available as part of the routine Nigerian child immunization schedule in government-owned/public health facilities across the country. The vaccines are also administered free for all during any mass vaccination campaigns. Everyone who has been vaccinated are given the International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis (ICVP) also called the yellow card) as evidence of vaccination. However, there is an exception for children who take the vaccine during routine immunisation. All travellers to Nigeria are required to take the vaccine before coming to the country.
Yellow Fever Card in Nigeria: Cost and How to Obtain it
The yellow fever card is now E-yellow card, is an online card that is gotten from travellers who which to travel to and from Nigeria. This new card replaced the replace the old vaccination card for yellow fever.
Steps to get the E-yellow card in Nigeria:
- To get the E-yellow card in Nigeria you need to log on to the website, https://yellowcardnigeria.com.
- Click on register
- Fill out your personal information
- Make payment online or generate remitta and pay at the bank.
- Print out your receipt and take your international passport with you.
- Head to the port health center at the airport where the card and vaccine will be administered to you.
The cost of the yellow fever card in Nigeria is ₦2,000.