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Zamfara strange disease: Death toll rises to 13

The number of casualties resulting from an unknown disease, mostly affecting children and women, in some communities in Zamfara State has risen to 13. Findings…

The number of casualties resulting from an unknown disease, mostly affecting children and women, in some communities in Zamfara State has risen to 13.

Findings from hospitals and government sources indicated that a total of 505 cases were recorded across Maradun, Shinkafi and Gusau LGAs.

Also, checks showed that the disease had spread to Isa and Zurmi LGAs of Sokoto and Zamfara states respectively.

It was learnt that the outbreak was first detected in Tsibiri village in Maradun LGA in February, this year.

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A source who confirmed that Tsibiri had been contending with the ailment since then, said, “As of Sunday, May 12, 2024, there were four reported deaths, with 228 cases, and 10 patients referred to the Shehu Shagari Disease Control Centre in Gusau due to complications.

“Most patients with minor complications have received treatment and have been discharged from the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Tsibiri.”

Similarly, in Shinkafi LGA, it was gathered that the disease was detected in Galadi village in April, following complaints of severe fever and abdominal disorders.

A medical staff member at the PHC in Shinkafi confirmed six deaths out of over 100 cases recorded, with over 60 patients with serious complications referred to the Shehu Shagari Disease Control Centre.

He said, “The disease appears to be spreading, with cases emerging in neighbouring areas, raising concerns about its containment.”

He, therefore, appealed to the governments of Sokoto and Zamfara states to deploy more medical experts to the affected areas to address the situation before the disease escalated to other communities.

Musa Salisu, a resident of Maradun, expressed concern that while the disease had not yet reached Maradun town, proactive measures must be taken by the government to prevent its escalation.

He said the ongoing prevalence of banditry added another layer of risk, noting that the Maradun General Hospital was vulnerable due to its proximity to the bandits’ enclave.

Salisu said such circumstances could deter residents from seeking medical attention out of fear of attacks by the bandits.

The Zamfara State Government earlier confirmed the outbreak of the strange disease in Maradun, Shinkafi and Gusau LGAs.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Aisha Anka, said the illness was characterised by abdominal distension, fluid accumulation, enlarged liver and spleen, fever and weakness due to contaminated water consumption.

She said the state government reported the incident to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and was actively engaged in emergency response measures to identify the cause and contain the outbreak.

She added that samples had been sent to laboratories in Lagos and Abuja.


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