No fewer than five persons have reportedly lost their lives, while over 30 others were hospitalised in Lokoja and Dekina local government areas of Kogi State within a week by the cholera outbreak across the state.
It was learnt that some of the victims were taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, Grimard Hospital, Anyigba, and some undisclosed medical outfits.
When contacted, Lawal Shiru, the sole administrator of the local government, said he could not confirm the casualty figures.
He confirmed that a case of a child vomiting profusely was reported to him, adding that when he called the mother of the child, he was told the child was diagnosed of diarrhoea.
The administrator added that he just learnt that some cases were also reported at Kabawa and Angwan Masara, and that he was on his way to the places to confirm the veracity of the report.
As a measure to check the epidemic from spreading, he said he had ordered the health officers at the local government to go round and fumigate the areas and also chlorinate their wells.
A doctor at the FMC who did not want his name in print said at least five children had died as a result of the disease.
He said the symptoms, which included vomiting, diarrhoea, leg cramps, shock and renal failure, should be taken care of, so that it would not lead to death.
The council boss said when we asked about the nature of the disease, they said it was severe vomiting and stooling. But since there is no post-mortem test, no one could confirm that the deaths were caused by cholera.
“What we are doing as a first step is to put every machinery in motion to control the spread, and I have directed the medical director of the local government to do all he can with his officers to ensure that the disease is brought under control.”
“In our effort to rid the local government of all forms of water-borne diseases, we are starting the chlorination of all wells throughout the local government,” said he.
Dr. David Emmanuel of Genesis Hospital, Lokongoma, said when he noticed it, he alerted the government surveillance officer who brought a bottle to collect specimen for laboratory examination.
According to him, “We can call it suspected cholera for now because there is no laboratory test to confirm whether it is cholera or not. It is true we had cases of vomiting and stooling that were brought here and we have referred some to other hospitals.”
A visit by newsmen to the Ministry of Health, Lokoja, to speak to the Director of Epidemiology did not yield fruit.