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Strange illness kills over 70 in Benue communities



Strange illness kills over 70 in Benue communities

Samuel Ortom

Strange ailment suspected to be yellow fever, has reportedly killed over 70 people in Epello-Otukpa and Itabono-Owukpa communities in Ogbadipo Local Government Area of Benue State.

Briefing journalists in Abuja over the outbreak of the strange ailment, the senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Abba Moro, said over 30 people died in Epello-Otukpa and another 26 in Itabono-Owukpa as at last weekend while more deaths are being recorded almost on daily basis.

Senator Moro, who had earlier sponsored a motion on the urgent need to deal with the situation, during plenary, regretted that the local government youth leader was part of the people who lost their lives to the ailment.

He noted in his motion that “the strange ailment has not yet been effectively diagnosed by health authorities, adding however, that the state Ministry of Health and Human Services has been able to intervene to some extent having collected samples and sent to the National Reference Laboratory for possible interim treatment.”

According to him, the affected people live in the rural areas and are dying on daily basis in their numbers, lamenting that the “death toll increases hourly and the disease is spreading to Ichama in Okpokwu where three deaths have been recorded.”

Strange illness kills over 70 in Benue communities

In his contribution, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), stressed the need for the government to investigate the strange ailment with a view to knowing its causes and proffering solution to it.

The Senate, accordingly urged the Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH; National Arbovirus and Vector Research Centre, NAVRC, to investigate each case and respond to the outbreaks.

It also urged the FMOH to mobilise focal persons to the area to quickly complement the efforts of the Benue State government to ascertain the nature of the ailment.

Similarly, it advised the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to promptly put up surveillance to contain the disease and see to the treatment of victims and protect others from further contacting it.

The Senate also urged the FMOH to immediately activate and set up a multi-agency yellow fever emergency operatives centre in Benue South, should the result is positive for yellow fever to conduct mass vaccination and awareness campaigns in the district.

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