By Bayo Oyewale, Lokoja
The last may not have been heard of the number of casualties from a mysterious ailment that is presently ravaging Fulani camps in Yagba West area of Kogi State.
Contrary to the believe that only 62 persons had died from the strange disease, findings by our correspondent revealed that no fewer than 100 persons have lost their lives to the unfortunate incident. According to Mallam Abubakar Buruku, whose son is being treated at the Specialist hospital in Lokoja, the strange illness which had claimed several lives emanated from a neighbouring community in Kwara. Buruku added that most of the victims spread across various Fulani camps died before they could get to the hospital for treatment.
He disclosed further that report has it that in some camps between eight and 10 persons have died, while from the Isanlu Esa camp he belongs, seven lives have been lost.
Mother of another victim, Raheenat Bauchi stated that before her son was moved to the Specialist hospital in Lokoja, at least 10 persons had died and buried in the neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, palpable fear has enveloped the various camps in the community due to the rising number of casualties from the strange ailment.
However, the Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu has dispelled the figure of 62 being quoted as casualty of the strange ailment in Yagba West local government area of the state.
Speaking at a press conference in his office, Lokoja , the Commissioner disclosed that the epidemic started about six weeks ago at Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa, adding that the disease was not a case of Lassa fever as laboratory tests carried out on the patients 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 the grave yard 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.”
Dr. Audu further explained that out of the 39 patients evacuated from the villages to the Specialist hospital, Lokoja, it was only six that were admitted as a result of vomiting and stooling, adding that the patients were responding to treatment.
Also speaking, the state’s epidemiologist, Dr Francis Akpa, said anytime there was an outbreak of disease; the first thing to do was to carry out test on the patients.
He said that the information from the 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.