Katsina — A strange disease suspected to be yellow fever, has reportedly killed no fewer than 50 people in Matazu Local Government Area of Katsina State within 21 days.
The disease broke out in Kogware and Ungwan Sarka communities when five victims suddenly lost consciousness before they were rushed to the council's general hospital.
According to residents, on arrival at the hospital, one of the victims died.
The residents also told THISDAY in the affected communities yesterday that the remaining 49 persons died in their various houses while receiving treatment from herbalists.
The village head of Kogware community, Shu'aibu Iliyasu, who also confirmed the development, said 50 persons had so far died as a result of the strange disease within the community.
But the state government said 45 cases of the strange illness were recorded with 18 dead.
Iliyasu said: "We are still shocked over these unforeseen circumstances that led to the death of our people. In this community alone, 50 people, including children, have died of this strange disease.
"There are reported cases of death also in Ungwan Sarka but I don't know the exact figure because the place is not under my jurisdiction."
The paramount ruler added that he reported the incident to the local government council and injections and drips were given to the victims by medical personnel in the area but the situation persisted, hence the need for speedy action by the state government.
He said: "We, therefore, call on the state government as a matter of urgency to come to our aid by providing the needed medical attention and investigate the root cause of this strange disease and take precautionary measures to end the untimely death of my people."
Another resident, Kabir Sarka, said many people died of the same illness at Ungwan Sarka and many were hospitalised in different hospitals in the area.
However, when contacted, 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.
He said: "We have 45 cases of that suspected illness. Out of it, we have 18 confirmed dead. And 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."
The Katsina State Government had immunised over six million people against yellow fever when the deadly disease broke out in Dan-Musa LGA of the state.