Ondo Mystery Disease Unmasked

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Mimiko

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Nigerian health authority says the mysterious disease which has killed about 20 persons in Ode-Irele in Ondo State of Nigeria must have been caused by ethanol after World Health Organisation preliminary reports claimed pesticides

| By Olu Ojewale | Apr. 20, 2015 @ 17:30 GMT |

THE angel of death which visited Ode-Irele, Ondo State, in the form of a mysterious disease and killed 18 persons has been unmasked as ethanol poisoning. Nigerian health authorities made the disclosure on Monday, April 20, saying that ethanol poisoning from a local gin must have been responsible for the sudden death of unfortunate victims, last week.

“We strongly suspect ethanol poisoning and in view of this, we have ordered for another toxicology test for the surviving victims. “Our investigations revealed that five of the victims took local gin mixed with herbs. Three of them died while the other two have been put under close observation,” Dayo Adeyanju, Ondo State health commissioner, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

In all, 23 people were affected by the disease out of which 18 of them died. The five others were said to have transferred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital for further tests and monitoring.

Adeyanju said the disease was not contagious, and that no new case had been reported for the past four days. “We will continue to monitor the situation. We are appealing to our people to report any case of sudden illness or death to the health authorities for immediate action,” he said.

Preliminary investigations by experts from the World Health Organisation, WHO, and their Nigerian counterparts, who had earlier visited Ode-Irele, South-Western town on Sunday, April 19, ruled out viral or Ebola infection for the outbreak of the mysterious illness. The global health body said on Sunday that pesticide poisoning was the likely cause of the mysterious deaths.

According to reports, the outbreak started on Wednesday, April 15, with the victims, having symptoms such as headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. Most of them died within a day of falling ill.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, who spoke on the development in a state-wide broadcast, assured Nigerians that the symptoms observed in the mysterious attack had no semblance to those associated with Ebola or any known epidemic disease.

Mimiko said that trained volunteers for active surveillance and case management had been deployed, while advocacy and sensitisation efforts were ongoing in print and on electronic media.

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