Investigation launched over increased COVID-19 related symptoms

By Ifunanya Obeme-Ndukwe

An investigation has been launched in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers state following the recent reports of persons with loss of sense of smell and taste, malaria, typhoid fever, and increased mortality rate in the area.

A team headed by the Secretary to the Local Government, Wari-Opu-Senibo LongJohn, the Supervisor of Health, the COVID-19 Team, Representatives from the Primary Health and the Media team, together went to all the Health Facilities on the Island both privately owned and Government owned, including major pharmacies and laboratories.

After an interview with the Head Doctors on duty, as well as the managers, it was gathered that; There has been an increase in drugs resistance malaria and increase in the cases of typhoid fever in the past two weeks on the Island.

About fifty percent of the patients complain of dizziness, bitterness in the mouth, lack of a sense of taste and smell. It was also gathered that, patients with loss of taste and smell are given allergy drugs with signs of improvement, as majority of them do not show symptoms of cough and catarrh.

The doctors also confirmed that there have been no deaths as a result of these illnesses in any of the hospitals or clinics on the Island in the past one month, adding that there has been less than six in-patient deaths in all the hospital and clinics on the Island in the past two weeks and they all have chronic medical history.

The doctors said six persons already dead were brought to the hospital and clinics for confirmation. The doctors also said the rumours of high mortality rate in Bonny Island are unfounded, and may not be too far from the fact that the mortuaries are filled as a result of the ban on public burial in the state, resulting in bereaved families making calls to all and sundry informing them of the plan to bury their deceased loved ones almost immediately.

The investigation also confirmed that the contaminated Bonny air and atmosphere is responsible for the sudden loss of sense of smell, as the team assured that further investigation shall be done to ascertain the actual level of the toxicity of the air in Bonny Island.

The residents of Bonny Island were also advised to take the first line of responsibility for their personal health by cleaning and clearing their drainages and environment, and use mosquito treated nets for sleeping.

Persons with the dominant symptoms were advised to immediately report to the nearest health facility as self medication is highly discouraged. The investigation was carried out on; Bonny General Hospital, Delta Specialist Hospital, Channel Consultant Clinic, Pan-OJ, Island Medicals Diagnostic and Aliied Services, St. Peters Clinic, Mephar Global Pharmacy and St. Charles Surgery.

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