THE Ute Okpu and Idumesa communities in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State have witnessed over 15 deaths in mysterious circumstances within the last two weeks.
Disclosing this to the media yesterday, the state Commissioner for Health, Mordi Ononye Ononye said he already led a team of public health officials including representative of the World Health Organisation in the state to the affected communities with a view to unraveling the mysterious disease.
Families of the deceased, as well as the hospital in Umunede were also visited to get an assessment on how the strange illness progressed and resulted in death.
Samples of the victims, who were mostly between the ages of 18 and 25, have also been collected for investigation.
According to the commissioner, there is a high suspicion of viral haemorrhagic fever, or even drug intoxication.
But the outcome of the test on collected samples will give clearer information on the disease and will inform the next line of action.
“Delta State Government has received information on seemingly mysterious deaths in Ute Okpu and Idumesa communities of Ika North East Local Government Area of the State which prompted Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to direct the State Ministry of Health to immediately investigate these deaths, identify the cause(s) and effect containment measures”.
Speaking to the Obi of Ute Okpu, Obi Solomon Chukwuka , the health commissioner said Governor Okowa has issued directive to upgrade the Comprehensive Health Center in Ute -Okpu to a full fledged Hospital, while calling on members of the community and residents of the state to observe good hygiene as the dry season approaches.
He noted that proper covering of their food, cutting grasses around their surroundings, would eliminate rats within their houses; urging them to continue to observe the COVID-19 safety guide lines especially hand washing with soap and running water.
The State Epidemiologist, said his office had sent officers to the communities immediately the information reached the Ministry of Health, adding that the active case search that commenced the previous day continues.
Ikwogu said his team has visited the families of the affected persons in the community and also the cases in the hospital in Umunede, collected their samples and interviewed them.