Pesticide responsible for Ondo deaths, says WHO

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The World Health Organisation says pesticide poisoning is the probable cause of mysterious deaths of over 18 people in Ode Irele, in Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Those who died suffered from blurred vision and headaches, and then lost consciousness before dying within 24 hours.

The “current hypothesis is cause of the event is herbicides,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl, said in a tweet.

“Tests done so far are negative for viral and bacterial infection,” he added.

The WHO spokesman said the current theory was that the deaths were caused by weedkiller.

All of those affected started showing symptoms between April 13 and 15.

The tests were carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, the WHO said.

Meanwhile, the WHO officials have visited Irele town in Ondo State to trace some victims with symptoms of the unknown disease that has killed over 18 persons.

The Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, said this at a news briefing in Akure on Saturday.

The commissioner added that five victims of the disease, who were still alive as of Saturday had been moved to the University College Hospital, Ibadan on Saturday night.

Adeyanju and other state government officials also visited Irele to get first hand information from some of the victims who are still alive and their relations.

The commissioner, however, revealed that the two victims discharged themselves from the hospital against medical advice.

He stated that medical personnel had begun tracing the address of the two victims and others who he said the state government would move to the UCH, Ibadan for further treatment.

He said, “We were together with the WHO officials on active case search. We are looking for people with the disease. We have been calling on the people of the town who are down with the disease to come out and it is working. Five patients have been moved to the UCH and I know that their cases will be well-handled. The attention of the whole world is on it.

“The Ondo State Government will pay the bill, the patients are not going to pay, we just want them to come out so that we can find a solution to the disease.

“The disease is not contagious and it is not infectious. If it is contagious those treating them would have come down with the symptoms.”

The Ondo State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Betiku Bamidele, told one of our correspondents that fresh blood and urine samples had been taken from the cases and they had been sent to two separate laboratories outside the state.

Bamidele said, “Fresh blood samples have been taken from these cases for further toxicology studies in two separate laboratories. Also, some sample of the drinks they took have also been taken for analysis. It is not infectious. Toxicity of some sort is likely to be the cause.”

Earlier, the Health commissioner had explained that four of the drinkers had died while one of them was alive but down with the sickness.

The commissioner urged members of the public to discountenance the terrifying photos of some persons with bumps all over their bodies saying those in the photographs did not die of the disease.

Some residents of the town, who also corroborated Adeyanju’s claims, told one of our correspondents that the WHO officials visited the General Hospital at Ode Irele where two of the victims were admitted.

A resident of the town, Mr. Jobi Enimade, who is an accountant with the Ministry of Niger Delta at Igbokoda office, said that the WHO officials came to his residence and asked him questions about the disease.

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