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Kano Gov’t: Severe malaria, typhoid causes of ‘strange’ deaths

The Kano State Ministry of Health has clarified that the recent strange deaths recorded at Gundutse village in Kura Local Government Area were as a…

The Kano State Ministry of Health has clarified that the recent strange deaths recorded at Gundutse village in Kura Local Government Area were as a result of severe malaria and typhoid in the area.

A statement issued by the Information Officer of the ministry, Ibrahim Abudullahi, also said the Epidemiology Unit of the ministry found that alarming environmental health challenges exacerbated the health risk faced by the community where 13 cases and five deaths were recorded, starting from March, 2024.

Daily Trust had visited Gundutse village and reported that about 45 persons reportedly lost their lives due to an outbreak of a mysterious illness in the village as the victims, mostly women, children, and elderly individuals, exhibited symptoms such as malaria, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Residents also expressed concerns about the sudden increase in deaths over the past two weeks, initially attributing the cases to common illnesses. However, the situation became alarming when the community started burying five people daily, indicating a more serious health crisis.

But the health ministry, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, said, “There has been no strange disease anywhere in the state so much that the State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (SDSNO) was phoned to explain the reality of the situation in the said area.

“The SDSNO, the release continued, affirmed that it was severe malaria and typhoid that persist in the area and the report would be shared to the reporter.

“An email from the Epidemiology Unit of the ministry sent to the relevant MDAs and stakeholder on 8 April, 2024 captioned Response to Report on Life Threatening Conditions among Children in Gainawa ‘A’ Gundutse, stated that following the recent reports of life-threatening conditions among children in the community, a team has been raised, in collaboration with the Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC), Kura LGA had conducted a thorough investigation as quick intervention to arrest the situation on time.

“The unit said that the finding revealed alarming environmental health challenges exacerbating the health risks faced by the community where thirteen cases and five deaths were recorded, starting from March 2024.”

The ministry, in its reports, stated that the delay in visiting the nearby health facility by the people of the area aggravated the case, leading to morbidity and mortality in many communities.

It added, “The symptoms of severe fever and headache among children in the community have been recurrent over the stated period. Clinical assessments have confirmed cases of malaria and typhoid which indicated urgent need for intervention to prevent further spread and fatalities.

“The primary water source in the community, a borehole, is at risk of contaminating the sanitation practices, overcrowding and breeding grounds for mosquitoes. These factors contributed to the proliferation of disease vectors and deterioration of public health.

“Actions taken during response include advocacy visit, active case search, sample collection for viral haemorrhagic fever and Lassa fever (all came out negative), provision of free drugs and consumables for case management and environmental chlorination, provision of adequate staff for early detection, response and referral to general hospital, surveillance intensification and risk communication and community engagement.

“We recommend for sample collection and analysis of water source, chlorination of water sources, environmental sanitation and hygiene activities and collaborative efforts amongst relevant MDAs are earnestly needed to mitigate the occurrence of the disease and break the chain of transmission.

“In light of the urgency of the situation, we urged the Ministries of Environment and Water Resources to provide immediate support and resources to address the environmental health challenges highlighted above.

“Swift intervention is crucial to safeguarding the wellbeing of the community members, particularly the vulnerable children who were at risk of life-threatening illnesses.”

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