Gambians have been urged not to panic over a mystery skin disease which has emerged among fishermen in neighbouring Senegal, infecting nearly a thousand of them in the last two weeks. 

The head of Gambia’s Disease Control Unit Sanna Sambou advised comes amid growing concerns in the country over the unknown disease in Senegal as many worried about its transmission in the country given the closeness of the two nations. 

“We have to be looking for any kind of illness of what we are seeing from Senegal to report to the health facility as quickly as possible.

“But there is no course for any panic, there is no course for any abnormality [because] we don’t have any problem here,” Mr Sambou said.

He added: “There is no information about fish poisoning or anything like that and it doesn’t necessarily mean when such problems happen the whole body [is infected it] is not like that. We are not saying dead fish at all and we are not seeing dead fish.

“But there is no indication that this is a problem even in Senegal. I don’t have any problem [with] people eating fish.”

Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action said it has launched an investigation into the mystery illness and measures had been brought in including a ban on going to sea expected to last for several days.  

The ministry said the symptoms suffered by the fishermen included “lesions on their faces, extremities and, for some, on their genitals” as well as headaches and slightly elevated temperatures.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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