A strange disease, whose symptoms include diarrhea, bloodstained vomiting and high fever has killed no fewer than 50 people at Okunran, Okoloke and Isanlu-Esa villages in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Initial reports had suspected lassa fever, but medics told Dr. Saka Audu, Commissioner for Health, who visited the affected areas yesterday, that it was a strange diseases that was unknown.
"We initially suspected lassa fever after getting some misleading reports about people bleeding around, so we made a diagnosis for viral haemorrhagic fever (lassa fever), but the result was negative,” Dr. Jannette Hathorn, a Consultant at ECWA Hospital, Egbe said.
She said the first case was that of a child of two and half years, who died 12 hours after he was brought to the hospital.
"We are sure it is not lassa fever, but our concern is that we do not know exactly what is happening. We have not arrived at a definitive diagnosis. Two adult patients were also brought here- one showed symptoms of ulcer-viral illness, but there was no bleeding component of any haemorrhagic symptom.
"We isolated them and both of them were treated for malaria. When they started improving, we let them go.
"Another parent brought a child to the hospital and pleaded for help. He said that 50 people had died in their village with similar symptoms of bloodstained vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
When the child died, we called the World Health Organisation (WHO). Yesterday (Wednesday), their officials came and took samples of everything; we must know exactly what we are dealing with" she said.
Edited from Sun