The Delta State Government on Friday said the deadly disease that has claimed many lives in the state in recent days is yellow fever.
There have been reports of an outbreak of a strange disease which claimed the lives of many in Ika North-East Local Government Area of the state
Locals claimed that no fewer than 30 youths between the ages of 18 and 25 had died.
But the state commissioner for health, Mordi Ononye, said the results of investigations revealed that the strange illness was yellow fever.
He also disputed the death toll reported in the media arguing that the number of deaths recorded so far “was about 22.”
Mr Ononye also said seven others who have the illness are being managed at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba.
The commissioner disclosed that the state government has also sent samples to the Reference Region Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for further confirmation of the cause of the deaths.
Mr Ononye addressed journalists alongside the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, and Director General of Orientation Bureau, Eugene Uzum.
He said the results of the samples sent to Dakar are expected in the next two weeks.
According to him, the state government had deployed health officials to the area to mitigate the effect of the disease.
Mr Ononye urged residents not to panic.
“Samples were collected from patients and sent to the laboratory. We have received results and the results point to yellow fever as cause of deaths we heard of in those areas.
“The result we have received is helping to move us to a more definitive action, while we still wait a final authentication from the Reference Regional Laboratory in Dakar.
“We have began immediate outbreak response activities. As we speak, we have informed Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency which usually collaborate with us, and that is why they have sent teams to support us,” he said.
He also added: “We are taking definite lines of action to have an effective response. We assure residents that everything is being done to ensure that it does not escalate.
“Before now, there was a planned yellow fever preventive campaign to begin November 20, we are moving it closer to enable us tackle what is before us.”
On the symptoms of the disease, Mr Ononye said “yellow fever usually manifests much more bizarre symptoms than malaria”.
“Some patients are with fever, body pains, headache, vomiting with or without blood. Some begin to bleed from the nose or mouth. Some of those we have just convulse and some recover very well even without coming to the hospital,” he explained.