Via the Daily Trust, a November 11 report: How illness wiped out 50 kids in Jigawa. Excerpt and then a comment:
Gidan-Dugus Village in Wangara District of Dutse local government area has been thrown into one of the longest mourning periods since its existence following the death of about 50 children, mostly between the ages of one and five, within the last five months.
With a population of about 800 people, it was reported to have been struck by a disease, later diagnosed to be malaria, which killed at least one every day, with the highest death of three children recorded in a day.
Congregation of mourners in households has become a common sight in the community, as almost every family is directly or indirectly affected.
The villagers, who have been in agony over losing their children, said they could not get any form of help from either the government or any organization.
It however did not stop them from visiting the only available heath facility located about three kilometers away in neighbouring Wangara Village.
Checks by Daily Trust indicated that some families lost as much as seven children within a week. In Gidan-Dugus, every household head has one heartrending story to tell owing to the outbreak of the disease.
Some of the distraught parents visited Jahun General Hospital, which is about 50 kilometers away on referral, while some sought help in neighboring Kano State.
Some locals who could afford to take their sick ones to bigger hospitals visit Rasheed Shokoni Specialist Hospital in Dutse.
The deaths, especially of children, continued until about three weeks back when succor came their way from Dutse Local Government Council, which provided some drugs for the villagers before the state Ministry of Health also stepped in.
The locals wondered what could be the cause of the sickness as they explained that they have been careful with their food and water sources. They said there are three hand pump boreholes in the village and they hardly draw from the only well in the village, suggesting that their hand pumps are enough to cater for their daily need in terms of clean water supply.
They also said there was no form of change in their food that could be ascribed to the possible cause of the disease, which presents with very high fever, bloated stomach and anaemia.
The patient is said to become pale after a while and eventually dies. This usually occurs after three to four days on the sick bed.
The story concludes by reporting that a Jigawa state health official says blood samples indicate the children suffered from malaria. WHO's malaria fact sheet tends to corroborate the diagnosis:
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, and chills– may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.
Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ involvement is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
...In areas with high transmission of malaria, children under 5 are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death; more than two thirds (70%) of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. Between 2010 and 2015, the under-5 malaria death rate fell by 29% globally. However malaria remains a major killer of children under five years old, taking the life of a child every two minutes.
Still, it's surprising that the community didn't recognize the outbreak as malaria, and that the Nigerian media are still reporting it as a mystery disease.