In Nigeria – Lagos state government confirmed yesterday that an unidentified disease has taken 17 lives and 34 others are under close watch.
The Lagos state ministry of health was notified about the disease on the 9th February. At the time, 47 cases of the illness was confirmed in a house to house investigation.
The disease has only attacked children between the age of 8 months and 6 years. This outbreak happened in Otodo Gbame community in Eti-Osa local government of Lagos state.
The state commissioner for health, Dr Jide Idris claimed that the cause and source of the disease was yet to be identified as laboratory investigations are ongoing. The doctor claimed that the disease could be linked to measles but this was discarded as none of the primary findings on the disease validated the claims. However, he believes it could be linked to Febrile Rash Illness (FRI).
“The disease causing the outbreak is yet to be confirmed. However, the signs and symptoms are suggestive of Febrile Rash Illnesses. Blood samples (and throat swabs) from the patients and water samples from the community have been taken to the Virology Reference Laboratory at LUTH and Lagos State Drug Quality Control Laboratory (DQCL), LASUTH, Ikeja respectively. The source of the infection is still under investigation,” he said.
The commissioner confirmed that the disease has killed 17 already. He also claimed that the first death as a result of the disease happened on the 6th of January, “but the community would not alert the health authorities of the outbreak on time.”
The community in which the disease broke out is a sandy and marshy area which is something of a slum. The environment is unkempt with wastes piled in any and every area. The community has a shallow well which they get water from. The water is used for all household activities, even drinking although some claim that they do not drink the water from the well.
Dr. Idris also claimed to have notified the World Health Organization and Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja of the disease, and “investigations and appropriate measures have been instituted to prevent further spread of the disease.”