Mystery deaths in Abuja community caused by food poisoning — Health board

Rilwanu Muhammad, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Development Board, has said that 13 people died while 10 people survived food poisoning caused by clostridium perfringes in Abuja.

Mr. Muhammad told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that the disease broke out on Feb. 18 in Saburi community, Gwagwa ward of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

He said clostridium perfringes is a bacterium which occurs in the soil, contaminates food and the intestinal track of human beings.

NAN recalls that the board had earlier said it suspected typhoid fever or shigella dysentery as the cause of the mysterious deaths in the community.

The board took blood samples from infected persons, water from the well and the three boreholes in the community for clinical diagnosis at the laboratory of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Mr. Muhammad said the NCDC result from the blood samples and the water showed presence of clostridium perfringes.

He said the bacterium causes food poisoning and the incubation period is between four and 24 hours.

“The bacteria tend to cause fever, abdominal pains and diarrhoea.

“Clostridium has a lot of toxin, that is why it easily causes a lot of death, especially to the malnourished people,” he said.

He said the board, in collaboration with the FCT Department of Public Health, had controlled the outbreak.

According to him, the board has rehydrated the survivors and provided drugs for the treatment of the affected persons.

He said that the main treatment was with penicillin and other rehydration therapy.

Mr. Muhammad urged AMAC and FCT Administration to provide safe and clean water for the community.

He also called on the community to enhance personal hygiene, especially hand washing, adding that clostridium perfringes infection could be traced in the stool of the affected person.

“If an affected person did not wash his hand properly after having contact with his stool, he can easily contaminate his hand and transmit the disease back into the community,’’ he said.

Mr. Muhammad said the board had embarked on massive health education in the community to enlighten people on sanitation and the need for personal hygiene as a lasting solution to the problem.



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