From Austine Tule, Makurdi
The Benue State Epidemiologist, Dr Samuel Ngishe, said the disease that has killed seven persons in Obi and Oju Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state was not Lassa fever.
Ngishe disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Makurdi.
“As at Friday, Feb.7, 2020 only seven persons lost their lives. Other deaths were unrelated to the issue.
“The five cases in the areas when tested proved negative to lassa fever.
“As we speak with you now, yellow fever is at the back of our thought. However, the few samples that we tested proved negative to it.
“Notwithstanding, we are still waiting for one component of the results to be out before we conclude. We are taking a larger population for testing in order to ascertain the exact situation.
“We were suspecting yellow fever because there was an outbreak of the disease in Ebonyi and Oye-Obi community shares a boundary with Ebonyi.
“In fact, it is only the river Obi that is separating them. When the outbreak occurred the people of Ado LGA of the state were vaccinated against it but the people of Obi were not.
“We have sent samples to the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja. So, for now we cannot categorically say that the deaths were as a result of the chemicals or yellow fever.
“We got information that towards the end of last year some people applied gemmalin 20 into river Obi with the aim of catching fish for consumption.
“The river is not a fast flowing type, so the effect of the chemicals can still have effect on living things ” he said.
He added that they were suspecting that the disease or deaths could be as a result of the Gammalin 20 that was applied into the river.
He said that another confirmation of lassa fever case had been confirmed in the state.
“The result of this case came out over the weekend. The victim hails from Guma LGA of the state,” he said.