Coronavirus, Lassa, yellow fever not behind Delta, Enugu mystery deaths, says NCDC


AMID growing concerns about the ‘killer disease’ ravaging some settlements in Delta and Enugu states, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has ruled out coronavirus, Lassa and yellow fever as behind the deaths.

Its Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told The Guardian yesterday that: “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is aware of recent deaths in communities of Enugu and Delta states.

“We have deployed epidemiologists to support ongoing efforts. Initial samples from sick people returned negative for COVID-19, Lassa and yellow fever. We have collected more samples for further testing.”

The epidemiologist urged Nigerians to adhere to basic public health and safety measures to reduce spread. He said the centre would keep working with states to investigate, identify causative factors and mitigate risks.

Also, medical experts have called for thorough investigation into the incidents. They include President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, member of Lagos State COVID-19 Response Team, Prof. Akin Osibogun and Executive Secretary of Enugu State Agency for the Control of AIDS (ENSACA), Dr. Chinedu Idoko.

Osibogun said: “The only way to know which disease is killing people in Delta and Enugu states is to conduct proper investigation, including laboratory tests and compilation/analysis of symptoms plus good health history and possible exposures. A full epidemiologic investigation is required urgently to provide information for control strategies.”

Idoko submitted: “It may probably be Lassa fever. Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria, and the annual peak of human cases is usually observed during the dry season.”

Idoko advised families to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for loved ones, even as he implored healthcare to observe standard infection prevention protocols and adherence to global best practices when tending patients.

He said early detection and treatment were key to reducing fatality ratio.

MEANWHILE, the Enugu Government, yesterday, said it had begun collecting samples from victims of the strange ailment at Ette Uno and Umuopu communities of Enugu and Ezike in Igboeze North Local Council of the state.

They are to be taken to the National Reference Laboratory for examination in addition to establishing a relationship with the novel coronavirus or otherwise.

No fewer than 57 persons have allegedly died in both two communities since the outbreak of the mystery disease in September this year.It was learnt that four persons, whose identities are yet unknown, passed on Wednesday from impact of the ailment.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, in a statement, said the ministry’s Rapid Response Team had visited and met with its Igbo-Eze North counterpart. He added that NCDC had been informed, “and is collaborating with the Enugu State Ministry of Health at the LGA to investigate and control the reports.”


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