Senegal: the "mysterious disease of fishermen" reappears in Thiaroye

Fishing canoes lined up on Yoff beach in Dakar.

RFI / Ndiassé SAMBE

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

In the suburbs of Dakar, the “mysterious disease of the fishermen of Thiaroye” is making a comeback.

Last year, at the same time, several hundred fishermen returning from the sea noticed strange symptoms: pimples, fever, itching, among others.

These symptoms have reappeared since the middle of that first week of November.


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With our correspondent in Dakar,

Théa Ollivier


last year

, Mamadou Diallo, fisherman from Thiaroye, had to stop working since the symptoms of the mysterious disease appeared at the end of last week.


The first signs were little pimples on my arms, then my fingernails got hit and pus started to come out… It went all the way to my private parts


That's where I stopped working

, he says.

I'm afraid anyway, because we are not used to seeing this type of disease

: all my private parts are infected.


More than 80 fishermen are said to be

affected by the disease

, according to Moustapha Diop, coordinator of the local artisanal fishing council of Pikine:


What we can do is take them to the hospital and take care of them, as well as alert the authorities.

What we expect from the state is to come and support us financially.

If the disease goes further, it can exhaust us, because we do not have a lot of means.


Investigations are underway, carried out by several institutes, including the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer), the poison control center in Dakar or the oceanographic research center in Dakar-Thiaroye.

Patrice Brehmer, researcher at the Research Institute for Development (IRD), based at the sub-regional fisheries commission, raises some advances:


There are bio-toxins that have been identified.

Now, it is not this kind of bio-toxins that produce the symptoms observed, but on the other hand we cannot exclude that a combination of the two bio-toxins found can lead to this kind of symptoms.


Additional samples will be taken on Monday, November 8 to try to identify the species of toxic microalgae that could be incriminated.


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  • Senegal

  • Agriculture and Fishing

  • Health and medicine