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Guinea: Authorities launch probe after dozens of fishermen suffer skin problems

Fishermen with skin disease   -  
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More than 50 fishermen in the West African state of Guinea have been hospitalised with a unknown skin ailment, the government's spokesman said on Friday, a day after the authorities launched a probe into the incident.

Photos circling on social networks show fishermen with faces, mouths and limbs covered in pimples and lesions.

"Faced with this strange phenomenon, the government has set up an inter-ministerial crisis management committee made up of representatives of the ministries of the environment, fisheries, health, transport (and) mining as well as the maritime prefecture", spokesman Ousmane Gaoual Diallo said in a statement Thursday.

He said a committee of scientists had taken samples of sea water in the suspect areas, and these were being analysed in laboratories in Guinea and abroad.

"While waiting for the results, the government urges fishermen to be cautious and avoid fishing areas with a compact ochre-coloured sheet of water," he added.

Analyses carried out on fishery products brought in by the affected fishermen indicate they are safe to consume, the statement said.

In November 2020, hundreds of Senegalese fishermen contracted an unknown skin ailment with similar symptoms.

Senegal's health ministry later ruled out the risk of contagion and reported that all cases were progressing favourably and without complication. It said it did not know the cause of the disease

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