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Strange disease in Benue suspected to be chemical poisoning, not Coronavirus – NCDC

Following an alert raised by the Senate over a strange disease outbreak in Benue State, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has stated that its prior investigations indicate that the disease is suspected to be chemical poisoning, not Coronavirus or any major Viral Haemorrhage fever (VHF).

Last week the Senate alerted Nigerians to a strange disease which it suspected to be the Novel Coronavirus, had hit Benue state, killing 15 persons already with about 104 seriously infected.

The Spokesperson of the NCDC, Emaeka Oguanuo, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with BusinessDay on Monday, said the disease was likely to be chemical poisoning because those affected by it share the same water source. He added that the symptoms shown by persons affected indicate that it is not an infectious disease.

He, however, said investigations were still ongoing to ascertain the disease.

Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general of NCDC in a recent tweet said water samples had been sent to the federal ministry of water resources for analysis.

“We were notified of deaths from ‘strange illness’ in Benue by State Min. of Health on Feb. 1. Samples tested at NCDC National Reference Laboratory were negative for major Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers. Water sample was sent to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for analysis. Investigations are ongoing,” he said.

Senator Abba Moro (PDP – Benue South) who raised the alert last week revealed that the outbreak of the strange disease occurred on January 29, 2020, in Oye, Obi Local Government Area of the State and consequently, directed the Federal Ministry of Health to immediately and the NCDC to investigate the disease and quickly employ surveillance measures to contain it.

He listed the first victims of the epidemic outbreak as Happiness Ogbo, Onajobi Ogbedu, Wisdom Agwo, Andy Edu, all of whom died 48 hours after contacting the undiagnosed disease.

He added that the disease, which was yet to be diagnosed by health authorities and medical experts in Benue State, has symptoms such as headache, internal heat, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach ache, weakness of the body and swollen stomach.

Moro also noted that as of Monday, February 3, 2020, the number of persons affected with the strange epidemic had risen to 104.

He added that the disease, which was yet to be diagnosed by health authorities and medical experts in Benue State, has symptoms such as headache, internal heat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache, weakness of the body and swollen stomach.

Moro also noted that as at Monday, February 3, 2020, the number of persons affected with the strange epidemic had risen to 104.

 

Godsgift Onyedinefu Abuja

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