The Delta State Government has finally revealed the cause of the illness which had claimed the lives of no fewer than 30 youths in the last three weeks in the Ika North-East Local Government Area of the state.
State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, said results emanating from series of laboratory tests following samples collected from some of the victims revealed that the said strange illness was yellow fever.
Over 30 persons between the ages of 18 and 25 had succumbed to disease in the last three weeks creating a sense of confusion in the area.
Mostly affect by the strange disease is Ute-Okpu, Ute-Erumu and Idumesa communities.
However, Ononye said in spite of claims by locals that over 30 persons have been killed as a result of the ravaging disease, death recorded was about 22 with seven cases being managed at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba.
The Health Commissioner disclosed that the state government had also sent samples to Reference Region Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for further confirmation of the cause of the deaths.
Ononye, who addressed journalists alongside the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu and Director General of Orientation Bureau, Eugene Uzum, said the results of the samples sent to Dakar are expected in the next two weeks.
He said the state government had deplored health officials to the area to mitigate the effect of the disease.
Ononye urged residents not to panic, stressing that the state government was collaborating with health-related agencies to step up measures to contain the spread of the disease.
“Samples were collected from patients and sent to the laboratory. We have received results and the results point to yellow fever as cause of deaths we heard of in those areas.
“The result we have received is helping to move us to a more definitive action, while we still wait a final authentication from the Reference Regional Laboratory in Dakar.
“We have began immediate outbreak response activities. As we speak, we have informed Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency which usually collaborate with us, and that is why they have sent teams to support us.
“We are taking definite lines of action to have an effective response. We assure residents that everything is being done to ensure that it does not escalate.
“Before now, there was a planned yellow fever preventive campaign to begin November 20, we are moving it closer to enable us tackle what is before us,” he added.
On the symptoms of the disease, Dr. Ononye said yellow fever usually manifest much more bizzare symptoms than malaria.
“Some patients are with fever, body pains, headache, vomiting with or without blood. Some begin to bleed from the nose or mouth. Some of those we have just convulse and some recover very well even without coming to the hospital,” he explained.