The epidemic ravaging Ette Uno and Umuopu communities of Enugu Ezike, in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State has killed 40 persons.
The state Ministry of Health yesterday said it had collected samples from patients and sent them to the National Reference Laboratory for investigation.
The affected local government area shares boundary with Kogi State.
A statement by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Obi, said the Rapid Response Team of the ministry visited the local government area and met with the LG’s Rapid Response Team, adding that on-the-spot-check and outbreak investigation revealed a number of deaths from an illness with symptoms suggestive of a disease of public health importance.
THISDAY gathered that the deaths were recorded from three communities, Umuokpu, Ete and Ogwurugwu.
The residents said victims were mostly youths, who usually reported weakness, fever and headache before passing on.
Investigation revealed that no fewer than 40 residents have died in the past three weeks.
The deaths started from Uni Ete, a village in Ete, which has a common boundary with Umuokpu, and spread to Ogwurugwu.
“My friend in Igogoro also told me about a lady who left Umuokpu and on reaching Igogoro, she started developing symptoms the same day and died,” a resident told The Cable.
He added that there are rare cases of two people dying from the same community as “those dying are from different areas.”
A resident and convener of Concerned Igbo-Eze North Youths (CINY), Mr. Solomon Onu, stated that the communities had suspected a deity when the deaths began but now fear the existence of disease yet to be diagnosed.
“We are suspecting some kind of diseases because with the way they are dying, it has come from Ete and Umuokpu and both have the same border with another,” a resident said.
In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, CINY lamented that health authorities had not taken control of the situation as at the moment.
“We, therefore, seize this opportunity to urgently call on Igbo-Eze North Supervisory Councillor for Health, the Executive Chairman and Enugu State Ministry of Health to come to the rescue of our people whose lives are being threatened, to stem the spread before further deaths ensue,” the group said.
But in the statement issued yesterday, the commissioner stated that the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been informed, explaining that the NCDC is collaborating with the Enugu State Ministry of Health at the LGA to investigate and control the disease.
He assured the public that the ministry was on top of the situation and would keep them up to speed on the matter.