Mysterious illness claims 4 lives in Sokoto, NCDC investigates


Dr. Jide Idris, Director-General, NCDC.

By Abujah Racheal

Four fatalities have been recorded from a yet-to-be identified illness in Isa Local Government Area of Sokoto State. The strange illness that has left the state health authorities and community leaders confused was reported to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on March 21, 2024.

Dr Jide Idris, Director General of the NCDC said illness came with symptoms such as abdominal distension, fever, vomitin, and weight loss.

According to the NCDC boss, 164 suspected cases have been identified across six wards in the Local Government, resulting in four tragic fatalities so far.

He added that the NCDC has deployed a team to Sokoto to investigate the illness primarily afflicting children aged four to 13, along with some adults.

“Already, the NCDC has deployed a National Rapid Response Team (NRRT), to collaborate with the State Ministry of Health to investigate the matter.

“So far, 164 suspected cases have been identified across six wards in Isa Local Government, resulting in four tragic fatalities.

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“Notably, this is not the first occurrence as a similar incident was documented in 2023. That one went without a conclusive diagnosis,” he said.

Despite initial clinical assessments ruling out infectious origins, he said that the search for causative factors continues, including heavy metal testing.

“Results indicate varying levels of lead and chromium in blood samples, prompting scrutiny of local activities such as mining and agricultural practices involving chemical usage.

“The collaborative efforts extend beyond health institutions, encompassing government agencies, research bodies, and community stakeholders.

“At the moment, security challenges hamper access to affected areas, complicating response efforts,” he said.

As investigation into the disease continues, the NCDC boss has urged vigilance within affected communities, emphasising prompt reporting of symptoms to healthcare facilities or designated authorities.

He also expressed condolences to families affected by the outbreak and commended the dedication of healthcare workers and partnering organisations.(NAN)

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