No new case of strange illness in Benue – commissioner

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom

Benue State Government on Friday said that no new case of strange illness in Oye Obi in Obi Local Government Area of the state.

The senator representing the Benue South Senatorial District, Abba Moro, had on Thursday told the upper chamber about a strange illness at Oye Obi, saying that 15 people had died from the illness.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Sunday Ongbabo, who spoke to newsmen on the phone said aside from the four people earlier reported to have died two weeks ago, there was no new case of death in the community.

According to the commissioner, officials of the ministry had visited the community twice and learnt that aside from the initial report of four deaths and four hospitalised persons, there was no new case of people down with the ‘strange illness’.

Ongbabo said, “The first time we heard of the report of strange illness in Oye Obi community, we sent our officers to the area and were told that four persons had died and been buried, so there is no way of confirming that but there were four people down with same symptoms of diarrhoea and stomach ache.

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“So we transferred the people to the State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi where they were treated and tested negative to Lassa fever.

“Some people claimed that they poisoned the water (in the community).

“Later, officials of the local government claimed that about 200 people were down with the strange illness and needed money to move them to Makurdi.

“So, we sent our regular surveillance to the area and interacted with the chief of the community, who said that there was no person down with the strange illness outside the earlier reported cases.

“But with the latest report from Abuja, we have sent our people to go there for surveillance, to talk to the villagers. Though they are yet to give a report but so far there is no new case of the ‘strange illness in the area,” the commissioner said, adding that the report of the water analysis test sent to Enugu was yet to arrive.

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