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Unknown Disease Kills 13 In Abuja


SAN FRANCISCO, February 23, (THEWILL) – The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory Primary Health Care Development Board, Rilwanu Muhammad, has revealed that an unknown disease, suspected to be typhoid fever or shigella dysentery, had killed 13 people in Saburi community of AMAC in Abuja.

Mr. Muhammad told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that the disease broke out on February 18 adding that 13 of the 14 affected people died, while only a five-year-old child survived the outbreak as at February 22.

The secretary said the victims of the disease were not from a single household but were all experiencing fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea, and sometimes bloody diarrhea before they subsequently died.

“There is no good sanitation in the community and we suspect salmonella typhi and shigella dysentery in that community,” Muhammad said.

He explained that shigella dysentery is a bacterial species causing dysentery in humans and in monkeys, found only in faeces of symptomatic individuals.

“It is not food poisoning; it is not cholera or gastroenteritis; that is why we are suspecting typhoid,” the executive secretary emphasised.

He added that the board had taken the sample of the water from the well and three different boreholes in the community to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control laboratory for analysis adding that the 20 boreholes in the communities were not looking neat.

Mr. Muhammad urged the community to embrace hand washing, good personal hygiene and good environmental management assuring them of the board's efforts at controlling the situation and treating infected persons.

“Chicken pox is another problem that is affecting the FCT, especially in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps,” he said.

He said 18 people were affected with Chicken pox in AMAC, stressing that chicken pox is the disease that has vaccination but was yet to be included in the National Programme on Immunisation.

“We also have reported cases of measles in some general hospitals in the FCT.

“We are much worried that people are not doing routine immunisation well because if people adhere to it very well the outbreak will have gone down.

“We are going to embark on a follow-up campaign on measles to catch up those who have not received the vaccine.

“We did it recently and we are going to repeat it again,” Mr. Muhammad added.

NAN reports that he also urged residents to take measles vaccination as it reduces complications from the sickness such blindness, deafness, pneumonia and abdominal pains.

Story by David Oputah

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