WHO denies making statement on Ondo mysterious deaths | Independent Newspapers Limited
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WHO denies making statement on Ondo mysterious deaths

Posted: Apr 20, 2015 at 7:07 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Hassan Zaggi, Abuja

The death of the 18 people in Ondo State in a mysterious circumstance has been linked to the consumption of a local gin that was contaminated with poisonous material (methanol).

Minister of State for Health, Fedelis Nwankwo, disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja, on Monday.
He, however, said: “At this stage, the particular poisonous substance (toxin) is being ascertained. The results of these detailed investigations currently being conducted by government and partners are still being awaited and will be made public as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has denied issuing any statement on the mysterious deaths.
According to the minister, “Epidemiological findings indicate a strong linkage of the outbreak with the consumption of a local gin that may have been contaminated with methanol (poisonous material).
“The assuring news, however, is that no new cases have been reported in the past 100 hours and no new mortality in the last 72 hours.
“We, therefore, believe that the situation is under control and that the stability will be sustained, while active case search and contact tracing continue in earnest.
“However, if any suspected case is found, it should be reported to the nearest health centre for prompt investigation and treatment.”
While noting that preliminary laboratory investigations indicate that the outbreak cannot be attributed to any infectious organism (bacterial or viral). Nwankwo further said that the outbreak was also not due to Ebola Virus Disease, as feared by many.
The minister, however, assured the general public that the Federal Government shall continue to exercise diligence to prevent its recurrence or that of any other public health risks in any part of the country and that the government shall ensure rapid response to any event of public health concern, which the system in place timely detects.
Nigerians were, therefore, enjoined to remain calm but be very vigilant and report any event of public health concern to the nearest health facility or health authorities.
He further advised that people should not panic or take any action inimical to their comfort, well-being or business based on false information or rumour.

Speaking, the Country Representative of the WHO, Dr Rui Gama Vaz, denied issuing any statement on the disease.
He also tasked the Federal and Ondo State Governments to find the cause of the disease.

While disclaiming the statement being circulated in the country in the name of WHO, Vaz said: “I did not, nor my office, make any statement. What we have agreed is that if there is any statement, this will be done together jointly by the Federal Ministry of Health and the WHO as we did for Ebola, as we did when we eradicated guinea worm, and all other diseases. So, this is not correct, the information that has being circulating about the disease is not from WHO Country office of Nigeria.”

While sending condolences to the families of the bereaved and sick, Vaz commended both Ondo and Federal Government for their efforts on the ailment so far.

“What is important in this situation is to make sure that we know the causes. Unless we have the final diagnosis from the lab, everything is a potential cause. So, the key issue is that the lab is taking the necessary action to identify the cause. The other important aspect that was clear was that it had nothing to do with viral diseases or any bacteria,” he stressed.