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Cause of Benue strange illness still unknown – Commissioner

Health authorities in Benue State are yet to determine the actual cause of an illness ravaging people in Oye-Obi community in Obi Local Government Area…

Health authorities in Benue State are yet to determine the actual cause of an illness ravaging people in Oye-Obi community in Obi Local Government Area of the state three weeks after several victims died from it.

The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Sunday Ongbabo, who earlier declared that the deaths of some people in the community might be a result of consumption of chemically-contaminated water, said on Monday that more investigations are being undertaken.

Ongbabo told newsmen in Makurdi that a laboratory analysis was in progress at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) in Enugu State.

The commissioner also disclosed that further investigation was ongoing using water, sand, plants and fish from the affected area while the samples might be taken abroad.

“We are closely monitoring those who have contracted the disease. We tested for Lassa fever and Yellow fever and the results were negative. So, we are waiting for the final result. It is even likely that the samples may be taken abroad for further laboratory analysis,” Ongbabo said.

Our correspondent reports that a statement released at the weekend by the office of Senator Abba Moro, representing Benue South senatorial district at the National Assembly, indicated that 15 lives have been lost in the community as a result of the ailment.

The statement signed by the Senator’s Special Assistant on New Media, Emmanuel Eche-Ofun John, noted that, “As at Monday February 3, 2020, the number of persons affected with the strange endemic has risen to 104.

“The victims who have died from the disease developed the same symptoms of headache, internal heat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache, weakness of the body, swollen stomach and died in the same manner.”

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