Strange Disease Hits Katsina, Kills 115, 1,000 Hospitalised

  • KSPHDA, Matazu LGA give conflicting death figures

Francis Sardauna in Katsina

A strange disease suspected to be yellow fever has struck some communities in Matazu Local Government Area, Katsina State, allegedly resulting in the death of no fewer than 115 in the last 27 days.

However, the Katsina State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KSPHDA) and Matazu Local Government Area have disagreed that the disease has killed 115 persons, respectively reporting 18 and 36 cases of death.

Concerned stakeholders raised the alarm yesterday when THISDAY visited some communities that were worst hit, calling for concerted efforts to end the scourge of the strange disease in the state.

The disease had first broke out in Kogari and Ungwan Sarka communities about one month ago when five victims suddenly lost consciousness before they were rushed to the healthcare centre of the local government.

Some survivors had claimed that the disease started with severe headache and later came up with some symptoms of fever with regular vomiting spotted with blood.

The Katsina State Government had immunised over six million people against yellow fever when the deadly disease broke out in some communities in Dan-Musa Local Government area.

Apart from the cases of death recorded in the local government, about 1,000 already infected with the strange disease have been admitted in Musawa General Hospital and Matazu Healthcare Clinic, among others, undergoing treatment.

One of the concerned residents and a former councillor of Kogari Ward, Mr. Sule Ibrahim confirmed the outbreak yesterday in Matazu, claiming that no fewer than 115 people had died of the disease and about 1,000 have been hospitalised.

In his ward alone, Ibrahim noted that the disease had affected people in three polling units of Kogari and Ungwar Sarka wards, which he said, had resulted in the death of some residents.

He said: “About 115 people have died as a result of this disease. The victims always experience severe fever, headache. After the headache and fever, vomiting will come with blood.

“About 1,000 people are receiving treatment at Matazu Healthcare Centre, Musawa General Hospital, Jikamshi Healthcare Clinic, Ungwar Sarka Dispensary and many other private clinics in these communities,” the former councillor explained.

Ibrahim, therefore, appealed to the federal and state governments “to come to the aid of the affected communities because our people are dying everyday as a result of the strange disease.”

Speaking with THISDAY at Matazu Healthcare Clinic, one of the victims, Jumai Al-hassan said: “I am having severe fever and headache. I am also vomiting with blood.”

However, at a session with THISDAY, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Matazu Local Government, Mr. Kabir Faruq disagreed that the disease had killed 115.

Faruq, who spoke through the Vice Chairman of the caretaker committee, Mr. Tanimu Abdulkadir said only 36 cases of death were recorded in the local government as a result of the strange disease.

He said: “Four weeks ago, an illness was reported by the councillor of Kogari ward in three polling units of the area. Victims of the disease often experience high fever and headache. After sometimes, the eyes of the victims will yellow and then start vomiting blood.”

The chairman added that the local government has expended a sum of N370, 000 for procurement of emergency drugs and vaccinations to treat the victims both at home and hospitals.

But the Executive Secretary of Katsina State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Shamsudeen Yahaya, said only 18 people died of the strange illness as investigation was ongoing to unravel the disease.

“We have 45 cases of that suspected illness. Out of it, we have 18 dead. Out of the 11 samples we collected, five are negative while the remaining six we are waiting for the result because we have taken the samples to Lagos.

“People could have died of any other thing. but for this one, that is the figure. It is a suspected case. We can only believe it when we have laboratory confirmation,” he said.