Unkown epidemic hits Ondo, kills 12

THE PUNCH Newspaper

NO fewer than 12 people have died from an unknown epidemic which recently hit Ode Irele, a serene community in Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dayo Adeyanju, who made this known to journalists in Akure on Wednesday, did not say when and how the disease was first noticed in the community.

He however added that four persons with fresh symptoms of the disease had been isolated at the General Hospital, Ode Irele.

According to Adeyanju, preliminary reports showed that prior to the deaths, all the victims, complained of headaches and later lost their sight before dying.

The commissioner explained that the symptoms of the epidemic were different from those of Ebola Virus Disease, which are diarrhoea, vomiting and haemorrhage.

While giving the assurance that everything possible would be done to ensure that the disease did not spread, Adeyanju said the state government had already sought the aid of the World Health Organisation and other partners.

He added that the Disease Surveillance Team and volunteers that were engaged in the state during the EVD outbreak had been activated.

Adeyanju also disclosed that the Personnel Protective Equipment purchased by the government to curtail Ebola was being used in the handling of the disease.

According to him, samples taken from the victims had been sent to Lagos State for proper investigation.

The commissioner also said the government had commenced an awareness campaign through which the public was being encouraged to report any case of the disease .

While stating that the state already had a cremation law in place, Adeyanju advised relations of the victims against burying them at home.

He warned the public against sensationalising the disease, particularly in the social media, so as not to create fears among the people.

Adeyanju’s Information counterpart, Kayode Akinmade, said the government had already contacted the Federal Ministry of Health over the disease.

A professor of infectious diseases and Chief Executive Officer, EbolaAlert, Bakare Lawal, said that samples obtained from the victims were being analysed to enable experts to determine whether the disease was bacterial or viral infections.

Meanwhile, online search vide the healthline.com reveals that the symptoms mimic those of Temporal arteritis.

The portal states, “Temporal arteritis is a condition in which the temporal arteries, which supply blood to the head and brain, become inflamed or damaged. It is also known as cranial arteritis or giant cell arteritis.”

It notes that although this condition usually occurs in the temporal arteries, temporal arteritis can occur in almost any medium to large artery in the body.

The portal adds that older individuals over 60 years of age are more likely than-younger individuals to develop the condition, while women are almost four times as likely as men to develop temporal arteritis.

The portal advises that although the exact cause of the condition is unknown, there may be a link with the body’s auto-immune response.

“In addition, excessive doses of antibiotics and certain severe infections have been linked to temporal arteritis. There is no known prevention for the condition. However, once diagnosed, temporal arteritis can be treated to minimise complications,” it says.

Symptoms of temporal arteritis can include excessive sweating, disturbances in vision (blurred vision, double vision, reduced vision), sudden, permanent loss of vision in one eye, throbbing headache (usually in the temples), fatigue and weakness, general ill feeling, loss of appetite, muscle aches, transient jaw pain, fever, unintentional weight loss, bleeding gums, facial pain, hearing loss, mouth sores, and drooping eyelid.

Others are joint pain and stiffness, shoulder and hip pain and stiffness, depression, tenderness in the scalp and temple areas.

The portal warns that it is important to see the doctor for a thorough examination to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

According to the U.S-based National Institute of Health, nearly 40 per cent of affected individuals will also experience symptoms such as nerve pain or respiratory problems.

WHO had on October 20, 2014 declared Nigeria free of EVD, a deadly disease that was imported on July 20, 2014 by a Liberian-born American diplomat, Patrick Sawyer.

Sawyer died of the disease on July 24 at the First Consultants Hospital in Obalende Lagos State.

Before WHO gave the country a clean bill of health, the disease had claimed exactly seven lives out of the 19 cases recorded in the country.

The first Nigerian victim who died of the EVD was Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, who attended to Sawyer while he was on admission in Lagos.


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