Nigeria

COVID-19: 11 Persons Die Of Strange Illness In Rivers Community

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A strange illness has taken over in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State, claiming at least 11 lives.

An aerial view of Bonny Island, Rivers State
An aerial view of Bonny Island, Rivers State

Of the 11 casualties, two have been identified as Pauline and Fubara, and a source in Bonny who goes by the name Ezekiel revealed that while Pauline died on Friday, Fubara passed away on Saturday.

According to Ezekiel, some officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) moved into the area on Saturday to investigate the cause of the recent deaths in the community.

His words on Sunday, May 24, 2020:

Fubara died yesterday, Pauline died a day before yesterday. Within two weeks, there are up to 11 persons who have died.

As of today (Sunday), the NCDC officials are in town and taking samples from volunteers to test for and will soon make their findings public.

A lot of people in Bonny now have malaria and typhoid. Again, over the past one week, many people have lost their senses of smell and taste. That is the worry we have. The next thing we saw after that incident is that some young men started dying.

For the past two weeks, we have lost 10 men; one of them who worked with Saipem died yesterday. His name is Fubara. It is very painful. We cannot trace this one because the NCDC just entered town on Saturday to ascertain the causes of death and loss of taste and smell.

Some are saying that the loss of taste and smell is associated with COVID-19. Besides that, the rate of pollution in Bonny has increased. In fact, you cannot drink our underground water because the pipes that enter the water have polluted the water. There is fear everywhere.”

An earlier statement from the Bonny Local Government Area indicated that there had been an increase in drug-resistant malaria on the island in the past two weeks.

The statement, signed by Omoni Long John, Secretary of the Bonny LGA, and Pafuro Tolofari, Supervisor for Health, showed that about 50% of patients complained of dizziness and bitter taste in their mouths.

The statement reads:

There has been an increase in drug-resistant malaria in the past two weeks on the Island. There is also an increase in the cases of typhoid fever in the same period. About 50 percent of the patients also complained of dizziness, bitterness in the mouth, lack of sense of taste and smell.

The resistance to normal malaria drugs results in patients returning almost immediately with the same complaints, resulting in the administration of intravenous injections. This treatment shows 100 percent improvement in the health of the patients.

Patients with loss of taste and smell are given allergy drugs and they report improvements, as majority of them do not show symptoms of cough and catarrh.

There has been no death as a result of these illnesses in any of the hospitals/clinics on the Island in the past one month. There have been lass than six in-patient deaths in all the hospitals/clinics on the Island in the past two weeks, and they all have chronic medical history.

There are about six cases of deaf patients brought to the hospitals/clinics for confirmation. They also have compromised health situations beforehand, on Inquiry to their families by the doctors.”

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