The Ondo State Government says a strange disease that has killed some people since its outbreak on April 15 in Ode-Irele, Irele Local Government area of the state, is not contagious.
Dr Dayo Adeyanju, the Commissioner for Health in the state, made this assurance on Sunday at a news conference in Akure.
He said findings from post-mortem carried out on the victims and other laboratory tests revealed that the disease was neither epidemic nor contagious.
According to the commissioner, preliminary report shows that ethanol poison is found in the systems of all the victims.
“Our investigations revealed that the victims, who are commercial motorcyclists, gathered at some local joints to take alcoholic substance mixed with roots and some other local herbs on the eve of the outbreak of the disease.
“I can assure you that the disease is in no way contagious. The fact that none of the caregivers has contracted the disease has greatly underscored this point.
“Therefore, the fear of spread does not arise and should be discouraged.
“We strongly suspect ethanol poison and in view of this, we have ordered for another toxicology test for surviving victims,” Adeyanju said.
The commissioner, who said there had been no report of new cases in the last three days, explained that 23 people were affected out of which 18 people died of the disease.
He disclosed that the five survivors, who have currently gone blind, had been referred to the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, for further examination and monitoring.
Adeyanju, however, insisted that he would not join issues with traditionalists who believe that the outbreak of the disease was due to some angry gods from which shrines some youths were said to have stolen.