• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Strange illness in Sokoto not infectious— NCDC

Strange illness in Sokoto not infectious— NCDC

…begins investigation into cause

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has confirmed that the strange illness that has caused the death of four individuals in Sokoto State is not infectious.

Jide Idris, the director-general of the NCDC, speaking in Abuja stated that the initial clinical assessment and investigations of the cases admitted at the Teaching Hospital have ruled out an infectious origin of this event.

This, he noted, necessitated the need to search for other causes, including heavy metal testing.

Meanwhile, he mentioned that investigations have begun to determine the immediate and remote causes of the unknown killer disease.

Idris disclosed that a total of 164 suspected cases have been identified in six wards in Isa Local Government Area of the state. The patients came from different wards and settlements across the LGA, and most of the cases were children aged four to 13 years, including some adults.

The NCDC was notified by the Sokoto State Ministry of Health on March 21, 2024, of reported cases of children presenting with symptoms which included abdominal distension due to rapid onset of fluids in the abdomen (ascites), fever, vomiting and weight loss from Isa LGA of Sokoto State.

The DG said there were initial delays in getting diagnostic results from the laboratory tests in Sokoto, which led NCDC to seek further laboratory investigations from the Teaching hospital, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).

The DG revealed that the observed activities in the affected communities included mining, agricultural practices which involve the use of various types of chemicals and pesticides, and the health-seeking behaviour and practices of the communities, which may be detrimental to people’s health.

He explained that the NCDC has taken various samples of materials and dispatched them for analyses, including blood, abdominal fluids, environmental samples like soil and water, locally grown food produce including vegetables and grains, substances and ingredients used for food and drinks, pesticides, and chemicals used in local guns.

“Samples have been taken and dispatched for analysis, including blood, abdominal fluids, soil and water from the environment, locally sourced food items, ingredients used in food and beverages, as well as pesticides and chemicals used in local guns.

“Despite the security challenges affecting access to the community, NCDC is working in collaboration with other stakeholders to unravel the cause of the outbreak. These include the teaching hospital, NAFDAC, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), the state ministry of health, various health workers, the Sokoto State Water Board, and other MDAs,”  he said.