Dr Saka Audu, Commissioner of Health in Koji State has identified the strange disease that has killed 69 people in the state to be gastroenteritis. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control however stated that examinations are ongoing in various laboratories to determine the cause of the disease. The people diagnosed were found to be suffering from gastroenteritis and malaria. The commissioner shared this fact with newsmen as he urged for calm, reassuring them that the government was in charge.
According to the experts, gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines that is accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea. Blood may be seen in stools in severe cases.
The State Ministry of Health stated that the disease killed many people in Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa communities in Yagbe West Local Government Area of the state.
According to Audu, the disease started six weeks ago in Okoloke village in Yagba west. The village is predominantly occupied by Fulani herdsmen. There have been cases of reported deaths following abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. However, the patients who showed signs of illness had long been evacuated to the Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja for better treatment.
Currently, 39 have been evacuated from Okoloke area, six of which were admitted and have improved significantly. Three of the six admitted people were diagnosed with gastroenteritis while the others were just cases of malaria. Laboratory results of samples taken from patients to Irrua General Hospital, Edo State show that it was not Lassa fever.
Members of the public were implored to practice proper hygiene and sanitation measures at all times. They were also told to report cases of sudden high fever, especially if it does not respond to conventional treatment.
Health workers are to ensure universal care precautions while attending to patients on all occasions. If tests are negative on febrile illnesses, these cases should be reported to the Local Government or State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer.