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“Dengue Fever hits Sokoto State with 71 suspected cases, Zero Deaths” – NCDC

Following reported cases of dengue fever outbreak in Sokoto State in November, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has said 71 suspected cases have emerged with 13 confirmed cases and zero deaths reported in the state, so far.

The organization made this known yesterday in a statement signed by Director General, NCDC, Adedayo Adetifa.

According to the Statement, “Dengue fever is a viral infection caused by the dengue virus (DENV) and transmitted to humans through the infected mosquito’s bite. Human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been established. DENV is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas worldwide”.

“The virus has been reported in three (3) local government areas (LGAs): Sokoto South (60 cases), Wamako (3 cases) and Dange Shuni (1 case). The majority of the suspected cases reported fall between the age range of 21- 40 years”.

“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.” the statement said.

In Sokoto state, public health actions have been taken to ensure the control of the spread of the outbreak, this includes.

• Dissemination of a Public Health Advisory to the public and media by the Sokoto State Honourable Commissioner for Health (HCH).

• Sensitisation of clinicians across the state on Dengue fever on the need for a high index of suspicion.

• Sensitisation of LGA surveillance officers to enhance surveillance of Dengue fever.

• Media engagements including phone-in programs to ensure public awareness of Dengue fever.

• Collaboration with the Ministry of Environment to improve sanitation and clearing of mosquito breeding sites in the metropolitan LGAs.

NCDC reports say most people with dengue have mild or no symptoms and will get better in 1–2 weeks. Rarely, dengue can be severe and lead to death. If symptoms occur, they usually begin 4–10 days after infection and last for 2–7 days. Symptoms may include high fever (40°C/104°F), severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, and rash. Individuals who are infected for the second time are at greater risk of severe dengue.

Available data shows that prevention and control of DENV infection depend on vector control. There is no specific treatment for dengue, however, early detection and prompt initiation of supportive treatment have been shown to significantly reduce death.

Nigerians especially people living in Sokoto are urged to adhere strictly to the following preventive measures:

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

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

• Ensure proper sanitation of your 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 described above are promptly taken to designated healthcare facilities by the responsible State Ministry of Health for prompt diagnosis and initiation of supportive treatment.

By News Editor

Our News Editor, Muyiwa is an information management expert and Development Blogger with more than a decade experience in investigative reporting and journalism. He is passionate about human angle stories to all social issues in Nigeria and Africa.