Over 60 persons have been confirmed dead under suspicious circumstances in the South-South and South-East Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria.
The cause of the ‘strange death’ is unknown in Enugu State where over 40 casualties have been recorded.
However, The Union Nigeria understands the deaths of 22 persons in the communities have been linked to yellow fever, Delta State Government said.
Enugu In Panic Over ‘Strange Deaths’
Residents of Umuopu and Ette Communities in Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State are in serious panic after an outbreak of a strange disease had claimed over 50 lives in the area.
The causes of the deaths recorded between September, October and now, are yet to be ascertained in the two Communities which are at the border between Enugu and Kogi States.
The development is causing fear and panic among residents in neighbouring Kogi state, a source said.
An officials of the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer in the Local Government Area, Vincent Oshomi, told newsmen on Thursday that the disease broke out at Ette at the beginning of September 2020, and spread to the border community of Umuopu, where 20 persons had died.
He further explained that the victims presented symptoms such as convulsion, diarrhoea before vomiting blood, adding that they are suspecting Lassa fever or cholera.
“Between September and now, at least 37 persons have died at Ette community. Also, Umuopu community, which shares a common border with Ette have recorded 20 deaths, four of which happened yesterday. It has been a strange development.
“I have officially informed the state’s Ministry of Health and investigations are currently ongoing to unravel the cause of the deaths. We have collected samples of affected persons and we are looking out for Lassa fever, cholera, yellow fever and meningitis. Coronavirus test will equally start in the affected communities today.
“The state’s Ministry of Health has brought an ambulance we are using to convey the sick ones to Enugu for proper diagnosis and treatment.”
‘Mystery Deaths’ In Delta Communities Linked To Yellow Fever
The deaths of 22 persons in the communities have been linked to yellow fever, Delta State Government said.
Reports say about 30 persons between the ages of 18 and 25 had succumbed to a strange disease in the last three weeks in Ute-Okpu, Ute-Erumu and Idumesa.
But the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye who confirmed the cause of deaths, said that the death recorded was about 22 with seven cases being managed at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba.
Dr. Ononye, said laboratory results from samples collected pointed to yellow fever as cause of deaths.
The health commissioner who was flanked by his counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Charles Aniagwu and the state Director General of Orientation Bureau, Eugene Uzum, said the result would further be authenticated at the Reference Region Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal where the samples have also be sent to.
According to him, the authentication results are expected in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Ononye said health officials have already mobilise for immediate outbreak response activities, urging residents not to panic, as the state government was collaborating with health related agencies to step up measures to contain the spread of the disease.
“Samples were collected from patients and sent to the laboratory. We have received results and the results point to yellow fever as cause of deaths we heard of in those areas.
“The result we have received is helping to move us to a more definitive action, while we still wait a final authentication from the Reference Regional Laboratory in Dakar.
“We have begun immediate outbreak response activities. As we speak, we have informed Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency which usually collaborates with us, and that is why they have sent teams to support us.
“We are taking definite lines of action to have an effective response. We assure residents that everything is being done to ensure that it does not escalate.
“Before now, there was a planned yellow fever preventive campaign to begin November 20, we are moving it closer to enable us tackle what is before us,” he added.
On the symptoms of the disease, Dr. Ononye said yellow fever usually manifest much more bizzare symptoms than malaria.
“Some patients are with fever, body pains, headache, vomiting with or without blood. Some begin to bleed from the nose or mouth. Some of those we have just convulse and some recover very well even without coming to the hospital,” he explained.