The Lagos state government has confirmed the death of 25 children, whose age range from 8 months to 6 years old, in Otodo-Gbame community, Ikate Lekki area.
The children are said to have died after an outbreak of a ‘strange’ disease.
According to the Lagos state commissioner for health, Jide Idris, 34 persons are currently under close supervision.
Idris noted that the cause and source of the disease is yet to be identified, however, the commissioner acknowledged that the disease has similar symptom with 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 (FRI). 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 further stated that: “The graves of 20 children who died from the FRI since the day of onset of signs and symptoms in the first case on January 6 were identified by their parents.”
“Also, 34 cases have been line listed so far with 17 males and 17 females; 17 dead patients have been identified with nine males and eight females, all are within the age range of eight and 72 months. The source of the infection is still under investigation and until we know the required source, we cannot say for sure, what is causing it.”
The disease, according to the commissioner, is believed to have broken out on January 16 “but the community would not alert the health authorities of the outbreak on time”.
The community where the disease broke out is said to have a population size of about 100,000 people. The place, basically, is a slum with waste deposited at different spot and shallow wells scattered around.
“The water from the wells is used mostly for bathing, washing and cooking. Majority of the residents claimed it is not used for drinking but a few said they sometimes drink from the well. The community head, Chief Hunpe Dansu confirmed the outbreak of the Febrile Rash Illnesses.”
“Seven cases were already followed up as at February 15, 2016. Six had recovered while one who was still ill was immediately taken to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Ikate for further medical attention.”
The commissioner also added that plans were underway to begin complete supplement immunization for all childhood preventable illness in the community