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WATER CONTAMINATION: 42 DEATHS, 403 CASES, 41 ON ADMISSION IN YOBE

By NBF News

No fewer than 42 persons have died as a result of water contamination with over 403 recorded cases of the water infections in some communities of 10 local government areas of Yobe State. 41 others were on admission over similar infections. Coordinator of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the state, Dr. Adamu Isa who briefed newsmen in Damaturu on the situation said the disease which was first recorded on July 27 has not been confirmed even though there were physical signs of cholera. According to him, the situation was known as gastroenteritis (water stooling which could be caused by anything).

Dr. Isa explained that the situation was worsened by lack of Public Health Laboratory (PHL) in the whole of the Northeast sub-region for gram staining and for ing out culture and sensitivity to ascertain the disease, adding that the test on the first sample failed at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) while seven other samples were subsequently rejected hence the equipment at the UMTH were not accredited to carry out such tests.

'Nigeria needs PHL across states of the federation to enable quick and appropriate intervention,' he lamented.

According to the WHO chief, it was difficult to isolate any bacterium ideally after two hours drive for test. He therefore noted that a special transport medium containing certain chemicals were needed to keep bacteria intact for four to six hours to enable isolation for tests pointing out that all efforts had been made to no avail.

Speaking on behalf of the deputy governor, Mr. Abubakar D. Aliyu who is also the commissioner for health, his Press Secretary, Musa Alaraba said the situation was an unfortunate one noting that a team of scientists and medical officials from the state were dispatched by the state government to the areas where the cases were first reported.

On recommendation of the experts, according to Alaraba, drugs worth millions of naira were purchased for immediate treatment of the victims of the disease.

Alaraba said the drugs were to aid the victims replenish lost fluids while they also received other antibiotics as the state government continued to explore other interventions to save people of the state. He said Governor Ibrahim Gaidam had made a provision for the establishment of PHL in the budget.

The statistics made available to newsmen indicated that Gujba LGA recorded 53 cases with 10 cases of death while its neighbouring LGA, Gulani, recorded 70 cases, eigtht deaths and five on admission. Fika has 48 cases, six deaths, six on admission; Potiskum, 102 cases, five deaths, 23 on admission; Nguru, 38 cases, three deaths; Fune, 46 cases, three deaths; Karasuwa, eight cases, one death; Jakusko, nine cases with no death; Nangere, two cases, one death with seven on admission. Damaturu, the state capital area recorded 67 cases, five deaths with seven on admission.