Yekini Jimoh Lokoja
Kogi State government on Wednesday refuted reports that a strange disease killed 50 persons in Olomaboro local government council of the state, saying deaths were recorded in neighbouring Enugu State.
Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Audu made the clarification on Wednesday on Channels TV Sunrise Daily which was monitored by our correspondent.
He also explained why it was impossible for the disease to cross the boundary from Enugu to Kogi stressing that the dead were within the economic and productive age of 25 to 40 years and also listed the symptoms to include headache, red eye, loss of appetite, inability to urinate or defecate and convulsion before death.
However, the state Health Commissioner, Dr. Audu, faulted the lawmaker’s claims and urging journalists to be sent to Etteh community for on-the-spot assessment and validation of his (Audu) stance.
In the Health Commissioner’s words: “There is no death from any strange disease on our side of the divide.
“Etteh, a border community with Enugu State, is in Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi State. I have been in contact with Enugu Health Commissioner, who said samples have been taken (from the Enugu residents), while even NCDC had said the deaths (in Enugu) are from Yellow Fever.
“Also, a Rapid Response Team from Kogi Ministry of health has been to Etteh twice. No death was recorded.”
On why the disease couldn’t have crossed the border from Enugu into Etteh in Kogi, Saka Audu said vaccination had been carried out in the area during a previous disease outbreak.
According to the health commissioner, “Recall that in 2017 we had Yellow Fever outbreak in Yagba West, in Kogi State.
“Part of the state’s response was the appropriate vaccination in the local government area and those contiguous ones such as Lokoja, Yagba East and the adjoining local government areas in Kwara State.
“Also in 2018, there was a vaccination for everyone in Kogi State aged nine months and above. So such deaths as reported is not possible.”
Audu added that he would get in touch with the concerned lawmaker to discuss and clarify the issues, pointing out that the ownership of a community in the area was in dispute and in court.
Therefore, he noted, there could be a mix-up as to where belonged to which state between Enugu and Kogi.