Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has confirmed that preliminary medical investigation has revealed that the “strange” disease that had claimed several lives in Benue state is not Lassa Fever as being rumoured by some people.
The Minister who addressed journalists in Abuja, on Friday, said that, “for now, medical investigations have not detected the ailment, but there are indications suggesting that the chemical substance being used for fishing in the affected community could be responsible, but that is subject to outcome of further investigation.”
Few days ago, many people were confirmed dead in some Benue communities, particularly in Oye-Obi local government area where 15 deaths have been recorded and 104 others infected since the mystery disease broke out on January 29, 2020.
There are fears that more people could still die of the “strange disease” if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the situation.”
Senators from the state, led by Senator Abba Moro, during the week, raised the alarm and mandated the Federal ministry of health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to urgently respond to the situation to forestall escalation and health crisis that could lead to death of more people.
The Minister, however, explained that NCDC has done preliminary test on specimens collected and result tested negative to Lassa Fever. “However, we have subjected the specimens to further test in our laboratory to know the origin of the disease.”