Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has allayed fears over the reported strange disease in Irele Local Government Area of the state, even as he said that government efforts to contain the disease are paying off.
He said that there has not been a report of a new case in 48 hours.
Mimiko in a broadcast to the people on Friday evening said government is taking all necessary and available actions to respond to the health crisis.
He said Cerebro Spinal fluid, Blood and Urine specimens have been taken for examination, adding that the specimens have been cultured and examined and the preliminary results show that no known viral infection has been detected.
“We have further ordered toxicology test. We have commenced active surveillance through the Local Government Area Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer. We await final laboratory results to be able to fully arrest and finally surmount this challenge,” he said.
Condoling with the families of victims of the strange disease, Mimiko said he was saddened by the losses and the attendant fear of what, he said, look like an epidemic.
“We have witnessed in the last few days a major health challenge. A yet to be named ailment whose causative agents, diagnosis and cure are also yet to be determined struck in locations in Irele Local Government Area of our state, killing 17 people and causing panic and
“I am, like you, saddened by this losses and the attendant fear of what looks like an epidemic. I can only bring words of consolation to the families of the deceased and words of comfort and assurances to the good people of our dear State,” Mimiko said in the broadcast, stressing that amid conflicting and confusing information, the investigating team of experts sent by government to the area gathered that all the casualties died within hours of affliction.
“ In all, 17 deaths have been confirmed in Ayadi Community and Ode Irele township and all the deaths were preceded by symptoms of sudden blurred vision, headache and loss of consciousness,” he said.
Mimiko added that a medical team was sent to the communities affected and the General Hospital as well as other health facilities, to gather information about the nature, scope and circumstances of the outbreak.
Key informants interview, hospital record search and patient interview, he explained, were used to obtain information, stating that “ the symptoms in this situation are not similar to any known epidemic and so have remained largely confounding.”
He said the symptoms observed in the two communities of Ayadi and Ode Irele bear no resemblance to those associated with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
“Our investigations thus far have been in conjunction with our development partner, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and report sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“As we speak, there are no new cases reported in the last 48 hours and there is none presently in the hospital. We have deployed trained volunteers for active surveillance and case management should the need arise.
“Also, advocacy and sensitisation efforts are ongoing in print and on electronic media.” the governor said.
Urging the people to report any suspected case to the nearest health facility or call the telephone numbers being announced on the state’s radio and television stations, Mimiko said he was hopeful that with the combined efforts of all, final and definite solution would just be a matter of days.
The time, he said, requires vigilance, love and unity of purpose, care and circumspection and “above all, these times demand strict adherence to hygienic ways of life.”
Such little things as regular washing of hands, covering of mouths while sneezing, he said, can go a long way to ensure healthy living, adding that he has directed that the information management team set up for the purpose of gathering facts and responding to questions be available all day and brief the public twice daily until the disease is fully contained.