…ethanol poison found in victims
The Ondo State Government in western Nigeria said the victims of the ‘strange disease’, which has killed no fewer than 17 people, consumed alcohol mixed with roots and herbs, on the eve of its outbreak on 15 April.
Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, commissioner for health in a press conference in Akure, the state capital today revealed this today, on the heels of the finding by the World Health Organisation, that ‘pesticides’ and herbicides appeared to have been the cause of the deaths in Ode-Irele, south of the state.
According to the commissioner, preliminary report shows that ethanol poison is found in the systems of all the victims.
Said Adeyanju: ““We strongly suspect ethanol poison and in view of this, we have ordered for another toxicology test for surviving victims
’’Our investigations revealed that the victims, who are commercial motorcyclists, gathered at some local joints to take alcoholic substance mixed with roots and some other local herbs on the eve of the outbreak of the disease.
“I can assure you that the disease is in no way contagious. The fact that none of the caregivers has contracted the disease has greatly underscored this point. Therefore, the fear of spread does not arise and should be discouraged.”
He said findings from post-mortem carried out on the victims and other laboratory tests revealed that the disease was neither epidemic nor contagious.
The commissioner, who said that there had been no report of new cases in the last three days, explained that 23 people were affected out of which 18 people died of the disease.
He disclosed that the five survivors, who have currently gone blind, had been referred to the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, for further examination and monitoring.
Adeyanju, however, insisted that he would not join issues with traditionalists who believe that the outbreak of the disease was due to some angry gods whose shrines were violated by the youths.
The commissioner said that the dead would be buried in body bags to curtail the spread of the disease.