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Rapid response team deployed to probe Kano unidentified illness

A National Rapid Response Team has been deployed to Kano to investigate an unidentified illness that’s taking its toll on residents and manage affected people,…

A National Rapid Response Team has been deployed to Kano to investigate an unidentified illness that’s taking its toll on residents and manage affected people, the federal government said on Monday.

The Director-General Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this on Monday in Abuja at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

Four people have reportedly died with over 200 others infected with the strange disease confirmed in 13 local government areas, including eight metropolitan councils in the state.

Ihekweazu said that the Kano State Ministry of Health reported a cluster of cases in 13 LGAs within the state with most of the cases having fever, vomiting, yellowish eyes and abdominal pain as symptoms.

“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.

“A National Rapid Response Team with colleagues from the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC and NAFDAC has been deployed to Kano State. We are working with, our sister agency NAFDAC, as well as a toxicologist from FMoH to test for potential non-infectious causes,” he said.

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

He said, “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 on our findings, while we support the state’s response.”

Why those with fake results were arrested

Ihekweazu said, “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 airlines, by embassies, by countries,.”

He, however, urged Nigerians and everyone traveling should spare themselves the inconvenience and embarrassment by doing the test in one of the accredited labs, which they can find on the NCDC website.

He said, “Before you travel please check the destination countries requirements if it include negative the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), test. Do this in any of the accreted labs, and you will get the result that is verifiable through  any of the airlines.”

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