A DAY after the Ondo
State Government said the
strange disease and deaths
in Ode-Irele in Irele Local
Government Area was due to
ethanol poisoning, the Federal
Government yesterday said
that epidemiological findings
on the incident, indicated a
strong linkage of the deaths to
the consumption of local gin
by the victims.
The Minister of State for
Health, Mr. Fidelis Nwankwo,
told journalists in Abuja
that the gin consumed by
the victims might have been
contaminated with methanol.
At a press briefing in the
Federal Capital Territory, FCT,
the minister said that no new
cases had been reported in the
past 100 hours and no new
mortality in the last (72 hours
in the affected community.
The World Health
Organisation, WHO, on
Sunday said that the deaths
could have been caused by a
But Nwankwo said that the
Federal Government believes
that the situation is under
control and that the current
stability will be sustained,
while active case search and
contact-tracing will continue.
The minister noted that
the illness was thought to be
the Ebola Virus Disease or
similar virulent infectious
disease leading to widespread
apprehension among members
of the public, particularly those
living close to the two affected
communities – Ayadi and Ode-
Irele local government areas of
Ondo State.
He said the particular
poisonous substance (toxin, is being ascertained, adding
that the results of the detailed
investigations being conducted
by the government and its
partners are still being awaited
and will soon be made public.
Nwankwo said: “The
epidemiological system detected
the outbreak and promptly
notified the Federal Ministry
of Health in accordance with
standard public health practice
and the Federal Ministry
of Health, Nigeria Centre
for Disease Control quickly
deployed experts to support the
Ondo State Ministry of Health in
rapid response operations.
“Preliminary laboratory
investigations indicate that the
outbreak cannot be attributed
to any infectious organism
(bacterial or viral). The outbreak
is clearly not due to Ebola, as
feared by many,” he said.
The minister said that there
is no cause for alarm and
urged Nigerians to report any
suspected case to the nearest
health centre and pledged the
Federal Government’s rapid
response in any events of public
concern which the system in
place timely detects.
“People should not panic and
take any action inimical to their
comfort, well being or business
based on false information or
rumour,” he said.
At the event, WHO said
it has not made any official
statement in connection with
the outbreak but will continue
to give technical support to the
Federal Ministry of Health on
the incident.
It urged the media to continue
to educate people about the
outbreak, which is not peculiar
to Nigeria, as outbreaks of
some diseases were reported in
Kenya, Italy and other countries.

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