A General Practitioner with a Private Hospital in Gwagalada, Dr Victor Fayomi, on Saturday advised residents of the FCT to take advantage of the ongoing mass vaccination campaign on yellow fever.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that vaccination started on Saturday and would run until Dec. 7 in all government hospitals and designated centres, including schools, markets, churches and mosques.

According to Fayomi, Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted mostly by the bite of an infected female `Aedes aegypti’ mosquito.

“It’s considered acute, because it last for only a few days and can become fatal within this period.

“It’s also said to be haemorrhagic, because in severe cases, it causes bleeding from body orifices.

“Once bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms usually develop between 3 to 6 days, and these include fever, chills, headache, back and muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting,’’ he said.

NAN also reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently identified 47 countries that were at risk of the yellow fever disease, and Nigeria was one of them.

This may have brought about the ongoing mass vaccination campaign for the prevention of the disease.

Fayomi stressed that in most cases, the symptoms are resolved within 3 to 4 days, however, in about 15 per cent of the cases, patients may, however, enter a second and toxic phase within 24 hours of the resolution of previous symptoms.

“Patients with the toxic manifestations present with recurring fever, jaundice due to liver damage, abdominal pain, kidney affectation, and bleeding from body openings like the mouth, nose and anus.

“’Death could also follow in about 50 per cent of those who progress to the toxic phase, as this usually occurs in about seven to 10 days.

“While diagnosis may be difficult, it is usually made from clinical and previous travel history. Laboratory investigations can also be carried out for diagnosis, but not earlier than the sixth day of being infected,’’ he said.

Fayomi, however, said the treatment of infected patients is usually supportive, as there are no specific antiviral drugs for patients’ management.

He said prevention was often achieved basically by vaccination with the yellow fever vaccine, which confers a lifelong immunity against the disease.

Fayomi said mosquito control measures, including the use of long-lasting insecticide treated nets and clearing of breeding spaces, are also important.

“Children less than nine months old, pregnant women and people with severe immuno-compromised status are exempted from being vaccinated.

“In about 95 per cent of people vaccinated, immunity is ensured within 10 days and booster doses are not needed.

“Survivors of the disease also enjoy a lifetime immunity too,’’ he said.