Ortom approves fund, orders investigation of ailment
By Peter Duru – Makurdi
An unknown ailment has reportedly claimed the lives of 17 persons in Okpeilo-Otukpa community in Ogbadibo Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue State.
Vanguard gathered from a source in the area that the unknown ailment which broke out in the community about a week ago had left several other persons hospitalised and in dire need of help.
According to the source, “it was about a week ago that some persons started presenting symptoms of fever and we thought it was malaria but the condition of some of the victims started deteriorating very fast. They started developing other symptoms including stomach pains and at the same time stooling blood.
“It was an unknown ailment, nobody knew what it was, though several persons and families were affected efforts were made to ensure that they received medical attention but several persons have died and others are receiving treatment and some in critical condition.
“The government also sent medical personnel to come and assist. Their intervention has helped to check the number of casualties but we suspect that it is a waterborne disease,” he said.
Meanwhile, the outbreak has been confirmed in a statement issued Tuesday in Makurdi and signed by Permanent Secretary of the Benue State Ministry of Health and Human Services, Mr. Andrew Amee on behalf of the Commissioner, Dr. Emmanuel Ikwulono.
The statement read in part, “We have received a report of an unknown illness in a community called Okpeilo-Otukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State.
“At the time of the receipt of the report on Monday, 9th November 2020, about 17 persons were already said to have died of the illness.
“We currently have one case which was brought to Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi by a relative of the patient. Others are receiving treatment in different hospitals.
“Symptoms of the illness usually include fever, abdominal pain, and general body weakness, while some stool and vomit with tinges of blood.
“The State Government is aware of the outbreak and has responded swiftly to facilitate investigation to establish the cause of the illness. Governor Samuel Ortom has also approved funds to enable the State Ministry of Health and Human Services to carry out the investigation.
“In the meantime, we advise the people of Ogbadibo and its environs to maintain good hygiene practices and report anyone with the said symptoms to the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in the local government area, or call the Benue Emergency Operations Centre on the following toll-free telephone numbers: 09010999920, 09010999919 Whatapp, SMS 08123135458.”