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Kogi strange illness: Controversy trails casualty figures

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The state Commissioner for health, Dr. Saka Haruna, who denounced the reported figures, while addressing newsmen, yesterday, blamed the Fulani leaders in the villages for the misleading figures, noting that the epidemic started six weeks ago, at Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa, all in Yagba West, in the council area.


• Cause Of Disease Yet Unknown

Apparently piqued by public outcry over purported high number of deaths due to a strange ailment in some communities in Yagba West Local Council, Kogi State, the state government has decided to take census of graves of victims to ascertain the actual number of casualties.

The state Commissioner for health, Dr. Saka Haruna, who denounced the reported figures, while addressing newsmen, yesterday, blamed the Fulani leaders in the villages for the misleading figures, noting that the epidemic started six weeks ago, at Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa, all in Yagba West, in the council area.

According to him, the disease was not a case of Lassa fever, as laboratory tests carried out on the patients by medical experts drafted to the community proved negative.

He added: “Honestly, we have decided to carry out the ideal findings, so that we can come up with the actual figure of deaths: “We will investigate and trace the dead people to their graves and come up with the correct figure.

“We want to assure the general public that government is doing all that is humanly possible to stay on top of the situation and forestall further loss of lives. We will continue to inform the public as the investigation progresses.”

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the state own specialist hospital, Lokoja, Dr. Bolorunduro Ehalaiye confirmed that 40 victims were brought to the hospital and after medical examination; six were diagnosed to be stooling and vomiting and were admitted and are responding to treatment.

He added that the remaining 34 patients who had minor ailments were treated and discharged.Also speaking, Dr. Francis Akpa, the State’s Epidemiologist, said anytime there is an outbreak of disease, the first thing to do is to trace the patients’ contacts to enable experts carry out tests on them.

He said the information they got from their disease surveillance system was that one of the three patients brought to ECWA hospital in Egbe, was suspected to have Lassa fever, but when sample was taken to Irua hospital in Edo State, the result was negative, saying it lowered their suspicion of Lassa fever.


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Saka Haruna
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