All 14 deaths recorded in Ode Irele, Ondo state, from a “strange” ailment are directly connected to an exhumed corpse in the community, Kayode Akinmade, the Ondo state commissioner for information and strategy, has said.
Speaking with TheCable, Akinmade said the diseases was not the same as Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), although it had managed to kill its victims in less than 24 hours. “The symptoms were not that of Ebola; it’s a 24-hour attack that would make the victim to have headache, be unconscious, then after 24 hours, the person is gone. That one cannot be Ebola,” he said. “All the necessary facility that government should provide, government has done that. We have moved all the ambulances and everything.” He added that although there were claims that as many as 34 people had died, only 14 people had fallen victim of the strange disease. “Available data do not indicate that 34 people have died – only 14,”he said. “And from what we got, the 14 had personal contacts with those people who came to exhume the corpse that led to this epidemic.”
He added that the state commissioner for health, Dayo Akinyanju would “in the next couple of hours, make a state wide broadcast” to update Nigerians on the state of the disease. Soji Gbadebo, the permanent secretary (protocol), in the state who also spoke with TheCable, corroborated Akinmade’s position. “There is a general allusion that there was a – there was something buried there (Ode Irele) and some people went there to exhume the thing, and sold it to this English people,” Gbadebo said. “Only those who were directly involved have been affected by this epidemic. “Meanwhile, government has sent powerful health team there to unravel the mystery, so, for now, we may not know what actually happened until a scientific report unfolds it.”
Speaking anonymously, a resident said the disease had claimed 34 lives although the newspapers reported just 12. On Thursday, the strange ailment was reported to have claimed 12 lives in Ode-Irele, a community in Irele local government area of the state. The disease is characterised with headache in victims, then loss of sight, and finally death, all in a few hours. The state government has said it is using equipment bought for the prevention and control of Ebola virus disease in the state to isolate the victims and control the unknown outbreak. Samples from the victims have been collected and sent to laboratories for investigation, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) already in the know.