Dengue fever hits Sokoto with 71 suspected cases

THE Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has declared an outbreak of Dengue fever in Sokoto state, with 71 suspected cases since November 2023.

A statement by the Centre on Sunday, December 17, noted that out of the 71 suspected cases, 13 cases have been confirmed, while no death has been reported in the state over the outbreak.

The NCDC defines dengue fever as a viral infection caused by the dengue virus (DENV) and transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease can be found in tropical and sub-tropical climates, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas worldwide.

Most people with dengue have mild or no symptoms and will get better in one or two weeks. Dengue is rarely severe or hardly leads to death.

The symptoms, according to NCDC, may include high fever (40°C/104°F), severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, and rash.

The Centre added that individuals infected for the second time are at greater risk of severe dengue.

Also, human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been established.

The statement added that the virus had been reported in three local government areas: Sokoto South (60 cases), Wamako (three cases) and Dange Shuni (one case), with the majority of the suspected cases affecting people within the age range of 21 and 40 years.

“The NCDC-led multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Technical Working Group (NEVHD-TWG), collaborating with partners and relevant stakeholders, has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities. The NEVHD TWG coordinates preparedness efforts for Ebola virus disease and other emerging viral haemorrhagic fever diseases.”

It added that based on a dynamic risk assessment, the current risk level of the dengue outbreak had been determined to be moderate due to the capacity of the state and the Centre, among other reasons.

“Currently, there is a diagnostics capacity for the dengue virus (DENV) at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Abuja and the Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto Teaching Hospital Laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology (UDUTH).

“However, the NCDC will proceed to optimise existing Lassa fever testing laboratories and others within the NCDC national laboratory network for DENV diagnosis to improve preparedness and readiness in the event of a large-scale outbreak. An effective response system is in place with the availability of control capacities (including trained rapid response teams and an effective infection, prevention, and control programme) to limit the risk of spread to other states.”

Although there is no specific treatment for dengue, early detection and prompt initiation of supportive treatment have been shown to reduce death significantly, the NCDC said.

The Centre urged Nigerians, particularly people living in Sokoto state, to adhere strictly to the following preventive measures:






     

     

    • Wear clothes that cover as much of their body as possible to avoid mosquito bites.

    • Sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets and use insect-repellent in sleeping areas.

    • Ensure proper sanitation of their environment to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes.

    • Call 6232 or other dedicated hotlines by state ministries of health to ensure all persons with suspected symptoms of dengue fever are promptly taken to designated healthcare facilities by the responsible state ministry of health for prompt diagnosis and initiation of supportive treatment.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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