High fever and dermatitis: an unknown virus affects 500 fishermen in Senegal

The Senegal authorities have started an investigation to try to discover what is the strange disease that has infected more than 500 fishermen who were fishing at sea in just eight days. If we were talking about a strange, unknown disease in the 21st century that has begun to infect people without knowing how and whose cases are multiplying, we would all say that it would be SARS-CoV-2. However, what is happening in the African country is very different: some element related to water has begun to infect the population without knowing what it is.

It all started on past November 12, when a 20-year-old who had spent several hours fishing at sea returned to the mainland with a series of strange symptoms. After spending several hours, he saw that his condition did not improve, so he decided to go to the Dakar hospital to be observed. After the medical tests, no one could diagnose what exactly was happening to him. However, they soon discovered that it was not an isolated case: the number of infected continued to grow over the days, reaching more than half a thousand in just over a week.

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Eight days later, Senegal's medical services have announced that they already have more than 500 patients that have the same symptoms, but no one knows for sure what causes it, except that they all have something in common: They are fishermen who work for hours and hours in the Atlantic and live in a very limited radius. That is the reason that has led the Ministry of Health to make a public report to communicate what is happening in their country given the risk that the number of cases may continue to increase.

As explained Ousmane Gueye, one of those responsible for the Ministry of Health, all those infected They are men who come from different towns around the capital, Dakar, and are currently in quarantine to receive the relevant treatment to alleviate their ailments. They all present very similar symptoms, but what it reproduces is unknown, although a good part of the experts are convinced that it is some element present in the water.

"In principle, it seems a dermatitis associated with an infectious disease. However, they have lesions on the face, limbs and, in some cases, the genitals. Similarly, patients present high temperatures and headachesIn addition to dry lips and red eyes. We are checking all the cases and hope to find out soon what it is about, "Gueye explains in a statement to 'Reuters.' At least, the good news is that this infection does not appear to be fatal.

However, the authorities are busy trying to find out what is causing this unknown disease, since in just under eight days there are more than 500 people affected. In fact, Senegal has decided to send its Navy to various parts of the Atlantic with the aim of taking different water samples to analyze them. They are convinced that the main key to this mystery is precisely in the liquid element, the only point in common between all those affected.

As stated Ibrahima Ndiaye, a Dakar dermatologist told the local newspaper 'Dakaractu', experts believe that the disease may be caused by the coxsackie virus, which causes the well-known syndrome 'mouth-hand-foot'. Other experts, such as the doctor's case Mame Pathé Diakhaté, considers that it is not actually a virus, but that it is an allergy caused by the dumping of chemicals into the sea, which generates this series of eruptions when in contact with contaminated water.

Despite the high number of people infected in just over a week, authorities have rushed to send a message of calm. Be that as it may, local experts have determined that there is not a single deceased because of this, so it is an unknown but controlled disease. It will be in the coming days when the relevant analysis of the water samples taken by the Senegalese Navy is carried out and it will be discovered what is causing this mysterious disease.