Dengue Fever: Nigeria At Risk, Cases Mistaken For Ordinary Malaria

By Longtong Ibrahim

An Environmental scientist in Nigeria, Suleiman Zubair Abdullahi, has revealed that there is so much proliferation of Dengue fever in Northern and southwest Nigeria, always mistaken to be ordinary Malaria.

In an interview with Africa Prime News, the environmental scientist said research had revealed that Dengue fever is caused by a special mosquito commonly found in Asia but the change in climate has resulted to the scourge in Nigeria.

He pointed out that, “Before now we don’t have Dengi fever in Nigeria, but ordinary malaria; now people are losing their lives more from malaria than before.

“It started emanating as a result of climate change because it was not experience before. As it is now, there is so much proliferation all over the north and even in the south-western Nigeria, where the issue of typhoid and malaria is high. They are not just ordinary malaria. Dengi fever can easily kills within the shortest period.

“If you notice the mosquitoes these days, they are not the type we use to have in the last ten years, they are black mosquito not as big as the ones we have; they are terribly dangerous,” he noted.

The Chief Medical Director of Graceland Hospital, Dr. Thot Joseph explained that Dengue fever was a kind of fever caused by a virus called Dengue virus which is usually transmitted via a mosquito called Aedes Aegypti with incubation period of between 3-15 days. “It is also known as Dengue Hemorrhagic,” he said.

According to him, the virus presents something very similar to Malaria and something like Ebola, noting that the disease was spread from one human to another via these mosquitoes, with the environment playing a great role in its spread.

He said the factors that aid in the spread and growth of the disease were similar to that of Malaria of which include waterlogged area, broken pots/tyres, poor drainage, stagnant water and bushy areas.

“It symptoms include fever, general body pain (myalgia), bleeding from orifices (all openings in the body like the nose, anus, mouth). It is been diagnosed in the laboratory.

“The treatment for all viral disease is given as supportive treatment for dengue fever patient because there is no direct treatment for the fever,” he added.

On proliferation of the disease in Nigeria, Dr. Joseph said, the disease was commonly found in the Caribbean and Asia which they have incorporated it into their child disease.

In Nigeria, he explained, there was more of malaria, adding that the Mosquito that spread Dengue disease is present in the country.

He cited an example of an incidence that happened in 2015 when he was the Kaduna state Health Commissioner of a Dengue fever patient that was mistaken for Ebola patient.

“For instance there was a case in 2015 where someone was suspected of having Ebola but after virology test diagnoses and asking where he came from, we discovered it was dengue fever.

“So the issue of climate change and global warming as well as lots of movement around the world (migration) makes it easier for the spread of the disease. So if an individual is infected, the first question to ask is where the person is coming from so as to know the source,” he observed.

While calling on medical personnel to always have a high index of every disease and not zero everything to malaria, he called on Nigerians not to restrict any sign of fever to ordinary fever especially whenever they feel those symptoms.

He urged Nigerians to always take care of their environment and ensure there was no stagnant water and pile rubbish around them; while government should occasionally fumigate the environment in order to destroy the mosquitoes parasite.

The first isolated case of Dengue disease in Nigeria was in the 1960s; only few other cases have been reported with most cases often undiagnosed, misdiagnosed as malaria or referred to as fever of unknown cause due to lack of awareness by health care providers and poor surveillance by the public health officers.

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