By Charles Agwam
Several rumour reports had emerged last week hinting about a possible spread of an unknown disease at the Yankari game reserve in Bauchi which caused scare among residents of Bauchi, its neighbours and tourists alike.
Vanguard reports that people became scared when some tourists who had been visiting the game reserve in the last two weeks started exhibiting some signs of ‘strange’ illness.
A social worker, Anna Suleiman who visited the game reserve with her team told Vanguard that the disease was real, adding that she and team were asked by the management of the game reserve to vacate the premises pending results of an investigation.
Her words:, “My team and I went to Yankari game reserve on Tuesday for a four-day retreat. But the next day, the management of the game reserve told us that we might contract a yet to be identified disease that was spreading very fast. So they asked us to leave pending the completion of an investigation.
“They even asked us to wait and collect a vaccine, but our sponsors asked us to leave immediately when they heard about the situation. When we landed in Bauchi, we were given vaccine for yellow fever.”
Another resident, Grace Isa told Vanguard how she cancelled her tour to Yankari game reserve when she heard about the spread of the unknown disease.
“I had wanted to spend a week at the game reserve before rumours started flying around that people who had visited the game reserve recently came back with a strange sickness. I have now suspended my trip till further notice,” she said.
The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement on Friday confirmed the outbreak yellow fever at Yankari game reserve.
A Microbiologist, Samuel Ojone explained to Vanguard that yellow fever is mostly transferred from monkeys to humans by mosquitoes.
“Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by a specie of mosquito, mostly from monkeys to humans. Mild cases cause fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Serious cases may cause fatal heart, liver and kidney conditions.
“Presently, there is no specific treatment for the disease, but oral rehydration can help to limit its effects on patients,” he noted.
Vanguard gathered that at least four people have been reported dead while 12 others are hospitalized.