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Federal government confirms outbreak of dengue virus with 71 cases in Sokoto

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has officially confirmed an outbreak of dengue fever in Sokoto State.

According to a statement released on the NCDC’s website last Saturday, the outbreak was identified in November 2023.

The statement, signed by NCDC Director General Ifedayo Adetifa, has reported 71 suspected cases, 13 confirmed cases, and fortunately, no deaths within the state.

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These cases have been documented across three Local Government Areas: Sokoto South (60 cases), Wamako (three cases), and Dange Shuni (one case).

A significant portion of the suspected cases involves individuals aged between 21 and 40 years. Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus and transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Although human-to-human transmission hasn’t been established, the virus is prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical climates, primarily in urban and semi-urban regions worldwide.

While most individuals experience mild or no symptoms and recover within one to two weeks, severe cases of dengue can occur, albeit rarely, leading to fatalities. Symptoms typically manifest four to 10 days after infection and persist for two to seven days.”

“The NCDC-led multisectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Technical Working Group collaborating with partners and relevant stakeholders, has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities.

“The NEVHD TWG coordinates preparedness efforts for Ebola virus disease and other emerging viral haemorrhagic fever diseases,” the statement read in part.

It said the current risk level of the dengue outbreak is moderate based on a dynamic risk assessment.

“There is currently adequate in-country capacity (including technical, health workforce, and diagnostic) to respond effectively in the event of a large-scale outbreak. Nigeria has also responded to viral haemorrhagic fever epidemics like the Ebola Outbreak in 2014 and subsequently Lassa fever.

“This has built our preparedness and response capabilities for viral haemorrhagic fevers like the dengue virus over the years.

“Currently, there is a diagnostics capacity for the dengue virus at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto Teaching Hospital Laboratory Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology.

“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,” it said.

It added that an effective response system is in place with the availability of control capacities to limit the risk of spread to other states.

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