Katsina — The Katsina State Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday that 18 people have died of suspected cases of yellow fever in Matazu local government area of the state.
An unconfirmed report had earlier said 117 people died of suspected cases of yellow fever in the area.
The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Kabir Mustapha, confirmed this while addressing journalists in the state.
Dr. Mustapha said the state recorded 47 cases in the area out of which it took blood samples of 11 persons to laboratories in Lagos (five) and Abuja (six) respectively, while the results of five persons taken to Lagos were negative.
He added that the results of six others from Abuja were still been awaited.
He said the ministry would carry out postmortem to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incidence particularly that it coincided with the just concluded massive vaccination against yellow fever carried out by the state government.
He said: "When my attention was drawn to the fact that there were some cases in Matazu LGA, immediately I called on the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Agency and he sent the Incidence Manager and his team to the area.
"The team went to Matazu and find out if really people had died of a condition that mimics yellow fever. So they took samples. I don't know if the Executive Secretary has confirmed receiving the results of these samples. But I can confirm to you that we have had cases of deaths that are suspected yellow fever. I called one of the Directors of Public Health facility in Matazu LGA. He told me the death they have recorded as at last week was 37.
"From the record we have from the facility, they confirmed 47 cases to me out of which they have 18 deaths. This is what they confirmed to me this morning.
"But we have administered over 6.3 million doses of vaccines against yellow fever to people between nine months to 44 years age bracket in the state. And we have effective supervision of the vaccination to ensure the age brackets are the target and ensure the vaccine is viable."