A thousand Senegalese fishermen have now been affected by a peculiar skin disease reported a week ago in Dakar. Senegal’s Health minister, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, said that the health authorities are still trying to uncover the mystery of the skin ailment on Tuesday.
Symptoms of the Skin Disease
The first established case is presumably of a 20-year-old on November 17 who reported symptoms, including swelling of the face, blistering rash, redness of the eyes, and dry lips.
In a report, Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action has since recorded that symptoms suffered by the men included “lesions on their faces, extremities and for some, on their genitals” in addition. Slightly elevated temperatures and headaches.
Sarr has recently precluded any relationship of the disease with COVID-19, as those affected have tested negative for COVID-19, and no presence of other virus has been detected.
The disease has hit the port area of Thiaroye, comprising mostly fishing towns, south of the capital city Dakar. The fishermen are alleged to have contracted the disease from the adjacent Atlantic Ocean.
Sarr, on Thursday, stated that the disease is not contagious since “only fishermen coming back from the sea are hit.” He further said the disease has not spread among the fishermen’s families.
The Health Minister also told a press conference that only one out of the 1,044 infected persons had been hospitalized despite increased past days.
Cause of the Disease
According to government officials, the cause of the skin disease is yet to be established.
Sarr has ruled out fish consumption as a potential cause of the disease.
Abdou Karim Sall, Environment Minister, further canceled the possibility of contamination being a causal factor saying laboratory results did not reveal any toxic or chemical infection of the water or fish.
Sall further revealed that biological tests did not reveal an infectious cause, but further investigations are still ongoing.
The investigations include an analysis to be conducted by Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar’s anti-poison center on Tuesday or Wednesday.
United Nations data show that the fishing industry provides 540,000 direct employment and more than 53,000 indirect employment to the Senegalese. The ban from going to sea is sure to affect the port area of Thiaroye and the West African Country at large.
Senegalese fishers have counted their losses following various social media advisories that have urged people to refrain from eating fish temporarily.