Delta State government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have commenced an investigation of the mysterious ailment, which killed no fewer than 15 persons in Ute-Okpu and Idumesa communities of Ika North East Council Area.
State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, who led public health officials and WHO representatives to the area, confirmed that the disease had in the last two weeks claimed the lives of about 15 persons between the ages of 18 and 25 years, while scores of others were in various hospitals in the area.
He said: “The Delta State Government has been informed of mysterious deaths in Ute-Okpu and Idumesa communities of Ika North East Council Area, which prompted Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to order the Ministry of Health to immediately investigate the deaths, identify the cause and effects and recommend ways of containing the disease.”
While informing the Obi of Ute Okpu, HRM Obi Solomon Chukwuka I, about the governor’s directive to upgrade the Comprehensive Health Centre in the community to a full-fledged hospital, Ononye urged members of the community and residents of the state to observe good hygiene as the dry season approaches.
He said they should cover their foods, cut the grasses around their surroundings, eliminate rats in their houses, and observe the COVID-19 pandemic safety guidelines, especially handwashing with soap and running water.
The State Epidemiologist, Dr. Richard Ikwuogu, said his office sent health officers to the community immediately after the information reached him, to commence an investigation with a view to unravel the cause of their deaths, adding that his team had visited the families of the affected persons in the community and those at the hospital in Umunede to collect their samples for necessary action.
Responding, Obi Chukwuka commended Governor Okowa for ordering the upgrade of the health centre to a standard hospital, saying the government’s intervention had brought hope and assurance that the disease would be conquered soon.
MEANWHILE, the Delta State government directed heads of public and private schools to observe COVID-19 protocols to avoid the spread of the pandemic, as schools resume in the state today.
Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Patrick Ukah, said in Asaba that the reopening of schools was in line with Governor Okowa’s directive that academic activities should resume today after schools were given one week break following the #EndSARS protests.
Ukah stated that officials of the ministry would continue to monitor activities in the schools to ensure strict compliance with the directive, adding that defaulters would risk closing their schools.
He said the resumption of nursery schools has been reviewed and that announcement for the beginning of academic activities would be made soon.