With the loss of three new lives , the death toll from a disease suspected to be yellow fever has climbed to 20 at Okpeilo – Otukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State .
The state Ministry of Health through its Permanent Secretary , Andrew Amee , had on Tuesday raised the alarm over a “ strange illness ” that had claimed 17 lives.
Speaking in a phone interview on Saturday , the state epidemiologist , Dr Sam Ngishe, said three more deaths had been recorded , bringing the number of deaths to 20 – 19 males and a female – all aged between seven and 40 .
Ngishe also said 26 people, two females and 24 males , had fallen ill with the sickness .
He said , “ Altogether , there have been 20 deaths , and the state Ministry of Health is at the location and we have been able to move the victims to different hospitals .
“ We have collected samples and sent to the National Reference Laboratory to be able to establish the kind of organism that is causing the problem . But we are thinking in the direction of yellow fever . You know there is yellow fever in Enugu State . It is also in Delta and Edo states .
And the presentation has been very unusual for the current episode of the outbreak .
“ So, our mind is in the direction of yellow fever . Of course, it ’ s a viral hemorrhagic condition.
When the result comes out , we will be able to say for sure what it is . As we speak , the state is planning to initiate a yellow fever campaign which is coming up very soon. And , of course, we will continue with the management of the patients . ”