In response to the emergence of an unknown illness in Sokoto and Zamfara states, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Dr. Jide Idris, convened an emergency meeting with the Commissioners for Health from Sokoto and Kaduna States. The meeting, held on Tuesday at the NCDC’s Headquarters in Abuja, aimed to address the growing concern surrounding the mysterious illness.

During the meeting, Dr. Idris engaged in telephone discussions with Zamfara’s State Commissioner as part of collaborative efforts to tackle the situation. The NCDC statement outlined that the discussions centered on the current situation, provided updates on response efforts, and agreed on further measures to contain and mitigate the impact of the illness suspected to be heavy metal poisoning possibly linked to mining activities.

The statement revealed alarming statistics, stating that a total of 196 suspected cases of the unknown illness, with seven deaths, have been reported across Isa, Sabon Birni, and Ilella Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Sokoto State. However, definitive conclusions are pending as results of the analyses on the various samples sent to sister laboratories, including NIPRID, NAFDAC, and NIMR, are still awaited.

In light of similar reports in Zamfara State, the NCDC announced plans to deploy another National Rapid Response Team (NRRT) to assess the situation and provide support to the state. The statement emphasized the urgency of the situation and urged affected and nearby communities, including those in Kaduna State due to its proximity, to report any symptoms such as fever, abdominal swelling and pain, vomiting, and weight loss to the nearest health facility or call the NCDC toll-free line (6232).

Additionally, healthcare workers were urged to remain vigilant and promptly report any suspected cases to the LGA/State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer or State Epidemiologist. The NCDC assured the public of its commitment to collaborating with relevant stakeholders to address the emerging health threat and safeguard the well-being of affected communities.