Nigeria Center for Disease Control on Monday said it had deployed a National Rapid Response Team to Kano State to unravel the outbreak of a “strange illness” and manage identified victims.
The NCDC Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this in Abuja at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 national briefing.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Kano State health authorities had confirmed over 200 people in 13 local government areas, including eight in metropolitan councils, that had fallen victim to the strange ailment, with four fatalities.
Ihekweazu said the state Ministry of Health reported a cluster of cases in 13 LGAs within the state, with the victims showing symptoms that included fever, vomiting, yellowish eyes and abdominal pain.
He said: “We have tested four samples taken from these cases for Lassa fever and yellow fever at the NCDC National Reference Lab, but their results were negative.
“A National Rapid Response Team, with colleagues from the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC and NAFDAC have now 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.”
Ihekweazu said the agency had also collected additional human and environmental samples for metagenomic sequencing – 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 of our findings, while we support the state’s response.”
Meanwhile, speaking on travels with fake COVID-19 results, Ihekweazu said: “Many of you would have heard my previous comments around the verification platform for test results for travellers.
“That verification platform is now live.
“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 their hands.
“From now on, all tests by private labs for travel purposes will be verified by airlines, by embassies, by countries.”
Ihekweazu called on Nigerians and everyone traveling to spare themselves the inconvenience and embarrassment by doing the test in one of the accredited labs, which they could find on the NCDC website.
He added: “Before you travel. please check the destination countries’ requirements if it includes the Polymerase Chain Reaction test.
“Do this in any of the accredited labs and you will get the result that is verifiable through any of the airlines.
“It’s very important to do this.
“I’m sure no one wants to be turned back at the base of the airlines.”