Ogun State on Saturday put up a disease surveillance team, following the cluster of mysterious deaths in the neighbouring Ondo State which had claimed some lives within the last few days.
The Commissioner for Health, Olaokun Soyinka, made this known through a statement in Abeokuta.
He said monitoring was more focused in Ogun Waterside Local Area, which is a neighbouring town to Ondo communities.
“Following the cluster of mysterious deaths in neighbouring Ondo State, the Ogun State monitoring response team has maintained close contact with the Ondo State authorities and based upon the information available, the State Government has put on alert all our disease surveillance teams,” Mr. Soyinka said.
“In particular, we are monitoring Ogun Waterside Local Government Area closely and are sensitizing our border communities to reduce cross border movements to Ondo State for now.”
The Commissioner added that blood tests were being carried out on collected samples, to ascertain if the deaths have been caused by ingested poisons or other infectious agents.
“Given recent outbreaks, we are aware that the members of the general public may be worried,” he said. “However, we wish to assure the people of Ogun State that there is no immediate cause for concern. The Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has enhanced the capability of the Ogun State disease surveillance team during the ebola outbreak and now the rapid response teams have been put on full alert on the order of the Governor.
“Also, we wish to inform members of the public in Ogun State that there are no similar unexplained deaths in our state and the characteristics of the outbreak in Ondo State are not suggestive of a highly infectious disease.
“The cause of the recent unexplained cluster of deaths, which affected Ode-Irele township and Ayadi Community in Irele LGA, Ondo state, is yet to be explained, but recently released laboratory results have ruled out fatal infectious diseases such as Lassa fever and Ebola haemorrhagic fever.
“Early reports confirmed 13 individuals have died. The symptoms common to the individuals who died were sudden onset of blurred or lost vision, headache, loss of consciousness followed by death, all occurring within 24 hours.
“Experts were deployed early to the sites in Ondo State to collect samples and evaluate the outbreak. A full history of each case has been documented. So far, the outbreak seems to be limited in range and no spread has been reported.
“However, until the nature of the illness is fully ascertained, we urge our people to avoid travelling to the affected areas. They should also continue to observe strict personal and environmental hygiene and ensure that food and drink are obtained from reliable sources. Anyone with similar symptoms should report to their local hospital promptly. Ogun State Public Health Hotlines can be reached on: 01099140121; 09099140122 and 09021715984.
“We also urge the public not to circulate unconfirmed rumours. Public Health authorities in Nigeria generally and Ogun State, in particular, operate on full and timely disclosure. Therefore, official sources remain the best way to obtain reliable information.”