Strange Illness: National Rapid Response Team deployed to Kano

NCDC Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) says the National Rapid Response Team has been deployed to Kano State to unravel the mystery of a strange illness that has affected more than 200 people.

The NCDC Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in Abuja, at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 National Briefing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that health authorities are investigating an alleged strange illness in Kano State, which people claim has affected more than two hundred people, with four fatalities.

The illness is reported to have spread to 13 local government areas of the state, including eight metropolitan councils.

“We are responding like you would have heard to an incident in Kano State where they have been a cluster of cases of an unidentified illness.

“Most cases have had fever, jaundice and some abdominal pain.

“We have ruled out the more common causes of this (illness) from infectious disease point of view, Yellow Fever and Lassa fever.

“And so, now we are looking at a few other options of what has been causing this (illness).

“But, we have a team in Kano right now working with colleagues in the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and a few other agencies to get to the bottom of that particular cluster, a lot of the response is being driven by the human resources centres that we have built up during this outbreak and also prior to this outbreak.’’

 The NCDC DG said that the agency had also collected additional human and environmental samples for metagenomic sequencing – a method for detecting rare new causes of illness.

 “We have tested four samples taken from these cases for Lassa fever and yellow fever at the NCDC National Reference Lab. The results of these were negative.

“Our immediate focus is to identify the cause of this outbreak, ensure management of current cases and to control transmission.

“We will continue to keep members of the public aware of our findings, while we support the state’s response,” he noted.

Meanwhile, on travels with fake results, Ihekweazu said defaulters were being handed over to security agencies.

 “Last week, many returning travellers were turned back and handed over to security agencies because they were trying to travel with fake lab results.

“Sometimes these results were procured by agents. But to be honest, everyone has to take responsibility for the test results in your hand.

“From now on, all tests by private labs for travel purposes will be verified by airline, by embassies, by countries.”

He, however, called on Nigerians and everyone traveling to spare themselves the inconvenience and embarrassment by doing the test in one of the accredited labs.

“Before you travel please check the destination countries requirements if it includes negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test; do this in any of the accredited labs, and you will get the result that is verifiable through any of the airlines.

“It’s very important to do this, I’m sure no one would want to turn back at the base of the airlines,” Ihekweazu said. (NAN)


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