A medical practitioner, Dr Arinzechukwu Ogbu, told Nigerians on Thursday to vaccinate themselves against yellow fever, to stay alive.
Ogbu, who works with Rhema Foundation Hospital at Kwali in the Federal Capital Territory, gave the advice at an online health talk in Abuja.
The event was organised by the 2014/2015 set of the Government Day Secondary School, Gwagwalada, Alumni Association.
According to him, yellow fever is caused by a virus that spreads by the bite of an infected female mosquito, known as Aedes aegypti mosquito.
“These mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations, where they breed in even the cleanest water.
“In cities, it is spread primarily by Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito found throughout the tropics and sub-tropics.
“Due to no-cure status of the virus, medical treatment of yellow fever focuses on easing symptoms such as fever, muscle pain and dehydration.’’
Ogbu described yellow fever as a viral disease of typically short duration.
He said that in most cases the symptoms included fever, chills, loss of appetite, headache and nausea muscle pains, particularly at the back.
“Symptoms typically improve within five days in about 15 per cent of people infected and within a day of improvement the fever comes back. Abdominal pain occurs and liver damage begins, causing yellow skin.
“If this occurs, the risk of bleeding and kidney problems is increased.”
He explained that the disease has three stages– infection, remission and intoxication.
“Protection begins by the 10th day after vaccine administration in 95 per cent of people.
“The World Health Organisation also states that a single dose of vaccine is sufficient to cover life-long immunity against yellow fever disease,” Ogbu stated.
The medical practitioner said that about 15 per cent of people infected by yellow fever would develop serious illness that could lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure and sometimes death.
Ogbu noted also that yellow fever is not malaria, saying that malaria is caused by plasmodium falciparum, a parasite, through a vector, which is also mosquito (female anopheles mosquito).
The medical practitioner said that yellow fever infection would typically last from three to four days.
He said that 15 per cent of infected people would usually enter a second, toxic phase of the disease characterised by recurring fever, accompanied by jaundice, due to liver damage.
According to Ogbu, bleeding in the mouth, nose, eyes and gastro-intestinal tract can cause vomit that contains blood.
“Unlike most mosquitoes that bite during the night Aedes egypti bites mostly during the day.”
Ogbu advised the public to maintain clean environment, use insecticide-treated nets and insect-repellents, among others, to prevent mosquito bites.
He described yellow fever as a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease that is characterised by high fever and jaundice.
Jaundice, according to him, is yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is why this disease is called yellow fever.
Ogbu advised members of the public to check government hospitals close to them offering immunisation services to get vaccinated, saying that vaccination is free.
He warned that once anyone contacted yellow fever, such a person might not be able to get vaccination anymore.