NCDC Moves To Investigate Mysterious Illness Sweeping LGA In Sokoto

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The director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jide Idris.
The director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jide Idris.

The director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Jide Idris has disclosed to reporters in Abuja that the agency has moved, following reports of a strange illness which gripped Isa local government area of Sokoto State on March 21, 2024.

He noted that the illness presents with symptoms including abdominal distension, fever, vomiting and weight loss, primarily affects children aged four to 13, along with some adults.

In response, the NCDC swiftly mobilised a National Rapid Response Team (NRRT) to collaborate with the Sokoto State Ministry of Health. Idris revealed that 164 suspected cases have been identified across six wards in Isa LGA, with four fatalities.

Idris highlighted that despite similar occurrences in 2023, a conclusive diagnosis remains elusive. While initial assessments ruled out infectious origins, investigations persist, including heavy metal testing. Results revealed varying levels of lead and chromium in blood samples, prompting scrutiny of local mining and agricultural practices.

Collaborative efforts extend beyond healthcare institutions to government agencies, research bodies, and community stakeholders. However, security challenges impede access to affected areas, complicating response efforts.

Amid adversity, Idris urged vigilance within affected communities and prompt reporting of symptoms to healthcare facilities or designated authorities. He extended condolences to affected families and commended healthcare workers and partnering organisations for their dedication.

As investigations continue, Idris has pledged ongoing updates, emphasising the NCDC’s unwavering commitment to unravelling this enigmatic health crisis and safeguarding public health.

Racheal Abujah
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