The death toll from the strange disease ravaging three communities and Fulani settlements in Yagba West Local Government of Kogi State has risen to 62.
The state Commissioner for health, Saka Audu, disclosed this on Friday in Lokoja while giving an update on the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Mr. Audu said that the mysterious disease had continued to kill children and adults in the affected villages unabated, saying that the disease which reared its ugly head few weeks ago was still ravaging Okuna, Okoloke, Isanlu -Asa and the adjoining Fulani settlements.
The Commissioner had on Thursday visited the ravaged communities to obtain first-hand information and assess the situation He had confirmed that 50 persons had lost their lives to the strange disease.
In response to the development, Mr. Audu said that the state governor, Yahaya Bello, had approved the immediate constitution and deployment of a team of medical experts to deal with the situation.
According to him, the medical experts include epidemiologists from the state ministry of health and medics from the state-owned health facilities.
“Earlier, samples taken from some of the victims were sent to Federal Teaching Hospital Irua, Edo State, for definitive investigation, which turned out to be negative for Lassa fever.
“On arrival at the communities, the team interacted with the locals and samples were taken from their water sources and food supply.
“It was discovered that the people affected showed common symptoms including abdominal pain, vomiting and stooling. Few of the patients, however, had Hematemesis and Hematochezia,” he explained.
According to him, those found still manifesting the disease had been transferred to Kogi StateSpecialist Hospital for proper management where an empirical diagnosis of food poisoning to rule out gastroenteritis was made.
He did not give the exact number of victims transferred to the hospital but said that they were responding well to treatment.
“Gov. Bello expressed deep concern over the incident and has directed that all the patients be treated free of charge. He also charged the ministry of health to conclude investigation within the shortest possible time to prevent further spread of the disease,” the commissioner said.