Felix Ikem, Nsukka

Hon Ejike Itodo, the council chairman of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State has confirmed that unknown disease has claimed many lives in Ette and Umuopu communities of the area.

The chairman confirmed this in an interview with Daily Sun in Nsukka on Thursday, he said the course of the disease is yet unknown, adding that samples have been collected and taken to Enugu state ministry of health with the view of unmasking the nature of the disease.

“Yes, there is an unusual number of deaths recorded in Ette and Umuopu communities of Igbo-Eze LGA within a space of two months.

“We have alerted the council’s Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in the council area for proper action, he said.

The chairman said that the delay in the council intervention was the inability of the communities affected to report the case to the LG initially.

“Initially, the communities were treating the disease with kid-glove thinking that the strange diseases were caused by a local deity.

“It was when the situation got out of hand with reports of many deaths that the communities informed the council,” he said.

He said that has summoned an emergency stakeholders and community leaders meeting to discuss the outbreak as well as to sensitise people to avoid more people being affected.

The LG boss disclosed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was expected to visit the affected communities today to find out if the strange illness-causing deaths were connected with COVID-19 pandemic

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Also speaking to our reporter, Mr Vincent Oshomi, the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer in the council area said that about 57 death has been recorded in relation to the strange disease.

According to him, “efforts are on to ascertain the cause of the strange deaths, so far 57 death has been recorded.

“We have alerted the Enugu State Ministry of Health and samples of the affected persons in the communities collected for proper diagnosis and treatment.

“The disease and deaths were first recorded at Ette at the beginning of September 2020 and spread to Umuopu an adjoining community in the area where four death was reported yesterday alone.

For now, 37 persons have died at Ette community, while 20 persons died at Umuopu community.

“Currently we are looking out for cholera, meningitis, Lassa fever and yellow fever as the possible. But we have to wait for the outcome of the test results to be sure of what we are dealing with.

“The state’s Ministry of Health has brought ambulance we are using to convey the sick ones to Enugu for proper diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

“For now, 37 persons have died at Ette community, while 20 persons died at Umuopu community,” he said.

He further explained that the victims presented symptoms such as convulsion, diarrhoea before vomiting blood.

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