- Dizziness, loss of smell, loss taste identified
- But air contaminated Bonny air under suspicion and further investigation
- Over-flowing mortuaries queried
Preliminary investigation report is already out in the panic over mystery deaths in Bonny Island of Rivers State, home of Nigeria’s biggest single economic installation, the $12.5Bn Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) which plans to start off a $10Bn Train 7.
Reports had emerged at the week that important personalities were dropping dead, counting up to 10 in 24 hours, with distress calls going to relations across Nigeria. The Bonny Local Government Authority had flagged off investigations immediately and by Saturday night, preliminary reports came out.
The report issued by a top chief and secretary of the LGA, Omoni LongJohn, and an elder, Pafuro Tolofari, the supervisor for health stated thus: “Following the recent media reports of alleged persons with loss of sense of smell and taste, malaria and typhoid fever, and high level of deaths, the Bonny Local Govt quickly swung into action to investigate and ascertain the truth of the whole panic.”
The report said a team headed by the secretary to the Local Govt and the supervisor of health, the Covid19 Team, and the Media team, together with Reps from the Primary Health, went to all the health facilities in the Island both privately owned and Government-owned, including major pharmacies and laboratory.
The reported added that the head doctors on duty as well as the managers were interviewed and recorded. “The following facts were ascertained. There has been an increase in drugs resistance malaria in the past two weeks on the Island; There are also increase in the cases of typhoid fever in the said period.
“About 50 per cent of the patients also complain of dizziness, bitterness in the mouth, lack of a sense of taste and smell. There are some few patients with complains of only loss of sense of taste and smell.
“The resistance to normal malaria drugs results in patients returning almost immediately with the same symptoms, resulting in the administration of intravenous injections. This treatment shows 100 per cent improvement in the health of the patients.
“Patients with loss of taste and smell are given allergy drugs, and they report improvement, as majority of them do not show symptoms of cough and catarrh.
There have been no deaths as a result of these illnesses in any of the hospitals/Clinics on the Island in the past one month.”
The team found that there have been less than six in-patient deaths in all the hospitals/clinics on the Island in the past two weeks and they all have chronic medical history. “There are about six cases of dead patients brought to the hospital/clinics for confirmation. They also have compromised health situations before hand, on inquiry to their families by the doctors.
“The rumours of high death rates in Bonny are unfounded, and may not be too far from the fact that the mortuaries are filled as a result of the ban on Public Burial in the state, resulting in bereaved families making calls to all and sundry informing them of the plan to bury their deceased loved ones almost immediately.
“The contaminated Bonny air/atmosphere have a lot to do with the sudden loss of sense of smell, and further investigation shall be done to ascertain the actual level of the toxicity of the air we breath in Bonny, hence the use of facemask is crucial.”
The team warned there is the high need for Bonny residents to take the first line of responsibility for their personal health by cleaning and clearing their drainages and environment, and use mosquito treated nets for sleeping. “There is high need to practice personal hygiene at all times and observe WHO public health requirements, especially Social Distancing in Bonny Kingdom and wearing of facemasks.
“Persons with the above symptoms should immediately report to the nearest health facility as self medication is highly discouraged. Individuals should eat balanced nutrition and practice regular exercises.
“Bonny Local Government shall continue to work with our King and Natural Ruler, as well as the Bonny Chiefs Council to ensure we have a safe and healthy society. For the records, the investigation was carried out on; Bonny General Hospital, Delta Specialist Hospital, Channel Consultant Clinic, Pan-OJ, Island Medicals Diagnostic and Allied Services, St. Peters Clinic, Mephar Global Pharmacy and St. Charles Surgery.”
The report seems to douse fears that COVID-19 has started killing in massive volumes as in one particular state in the north. Another important aspect of the report is the contaminated air in Bonny, an issue that often creates panic on the Island where gas is now the dominant product.
Panic as mystery deaths in Bonny lead to inquiry
By Ignatius Chukwu
Over 10 deaths of prominent persons have been reported in Bonny island in Rivers State, provoking panic and fears. Fingers point to COVID-19 but malaria and typhoid have been put up as causes of death.
Residents sending distress alerts said the deaths have occurred with two days and could no longer be trusted to be caused by the popular malaria and typhoid. Wild speculations have left the malaria/typhoid zone to gas leaks in the city or the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
The authorities said they have mounted investigations into the cause of deaths and want the citizens to remain calm and cautious.
Most of the deaths were said to have taken place at some of the best hospitals on the island but the patients could not be saved from malaria and typhoid. Most residents have continued to mourn their lost ones some of who are lawyers and politicians.
The Rivers State government has not reacted to the situation but the local council authorities have tried to calm the residents down.
Williams Ogbah Agwu, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Bonny local council chairman, David Rogers Irimagha, said: “This is to inform the indigenes and residents of Bonny Local Government that the public concerns and expression of discomfort over the sudden prevalence of malaria and typhoid, loss of taste and smells etc, on the Island is one that has called on the government’s urgent attention.
“As a responsible government we use this medium to inform the citizens that government is thoroughly investigating the issue as well as other related concerns and in due time it will relate same to the public.
“However, it is advisable to observe all safety and hygienic measures at this period, and be rest assured that government is on top of the matter and will provide a positive solution to this effect.”