A strange illness is reported to have killed 11 persons in the Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Punch reports that a source in Bonny, identified as Ezekiel, said two people, Pauline and Fubara, died on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Ezekiel explained that some officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) moved into the area on Saturday with a view to finding out the cause of the recent deaths in the place.
“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 COVID-19 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,” he was quoted to have said.
Omoni LongJohn, Secretary of Bonny Local Government; and Pafuro Tolofari, Supervisor for Health; were reported to have complained about an increase in drug-resistant malaria in the area.
They said the patients had complained of dizziness and bitter taste in their mouths as well as loss of sense of taste and smell.
“The resistance to normal malarial drugs results in patients returning almost immediately with the same complaints, resulting in the administration of intravenous injections. This treatment shows 100 per cent 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 less than six in-patient deaths in all the hospital/clinics on the island in the past two weeks and they all have chronic medical history.
“There are about six cases of dead patients brought to the hospital/clinics for confirmation. They also have compromised health situations beforehand, on inquiry to their families by the doctors,” the statement read.