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Read the following warning from a concerned citizen!

Dear friends,

I am writing to alert you to a recent health concern that is affecting our communities here in Edo State. Many cases of death have been recorded for an ailment called for now *haemorrhagic fever* mainly in Uhubhonde, Igieduma, Ehor and Ekpoma. Many of the victims have experienced the following symptoms: *Pain in the muscles, abdomen or joints, Vomiting, Dark stool, Diarrhoea, Fever, Chills, Low blood pressure, Headache, Nosebleed, Eye redness, and Internal bleeding.*

Medical personnel who are closely monitoring the situation say that at this point they do not know the specific viral infection that is responsible for the multiple casualties. They have sent samples to the World Health Organization (WHO), and expect a reply soon. However, in order to protect yourselves, they are providing the following advice:

1. Always perform good hand hygiene, including regular hand washing with soap. This is especially important before eating and after using the toilet.

2. Prepare your own food rather than buy cooked food from outside.

3. As much as possible, avoid shaking hands and hugging because it is so easily contactable. And do not be offended if others decline to shake your hand.

4. Avoid large crowds, public transportations and funerals as much as possible especially funerals where the dead died after a very brief unexplained illness.

After receiving the news this afternoon, I called a Matron friend of mine here in Ekpoma this evening. She told me she will call me back with more information. She just called back after speaking with the WHO personnel who has been investigating the outbreak. The personnel confirmed the following:

1. That in the last one week 3 persons have died in Ekpoma (e.g. one in Uhiele, one along the express). And many more in and around Ehor

2. At first when they started receiving reports of cases, they felt it was lassa fever. But all test always tested negative to lassa fever. So the person just end up dying. Such death is very fast within 3 days of infection.

3. That in the last few days at their research lab in UCH Ibadan (and here is some good news), they have been able to know that what is common to all the cases tested is yellow fever, which indicates that it might actually be a form of yellow fever outbreak. While this is still being confirmed, it is advisable that if anyone can get the yellow fever vaccine, they should take it immediately.

4. The WHO personnel and her team will be at ISTH @Irrua tomorrow, Friday 23/11/18 to sensitise health workers. And that yellow fever vaccine will be made readily available at the federal hospital and health centres within our communities within a week.

So please be safe, practice simple but effective hygiene such as hand washing, use of sanitizers and wipes as frequently as possible, avoiding hand shakes, hugs and crowds.

Kindly share with as many persons in Edo State as possible and even beyond. Knowledge isn’t just wealth, it is also health.

*Dr Elvis Imafidon* .

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