The Federal Government on Monday has linked the death in Irele, Ondo State to the consumption of local gin, popularly known as Ogogoro.
30 persons have been reported dead in the South-Western state.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Health, Fidelis Nwankwo, who also said that the government was on top of the situation.
Nwankwo said all the victims, including the deceased, consumed the local gin before developing the symptoms, with some dying.
He said: “”The illness was thought by many to be Ebola Virus Disease or similar virulent infectious disease leading to widespread apprehension among members of the public, particularly those living in proximity to the two affected communities – Ayadi and Ode-Irele – in Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State. “The victims of the illness are males between the ages of 22 and 75 years.
“They mostly exhibited headache, blurring of vision, sudden blindness, loss of speech, unconsciousness and sudden death within 24 hours. “At the last count, 18 of the 23 cases have died. “The remaining five are receiving treatment at University College Hospital Ibadan.” After debunking the linkage of the deaths to Ebola Virus Disease, the minister said it had been established it had to do with the consumption of the local gin.
He said: “Preliminary laboratory investigations indicate that the Outbreak cannot be attributed to any infectious organism. “The Outbreak is also clearly not due to Ebola Virus Disease, as feared by many. “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). “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. “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.”