The outbreak of a mysterious disease in Ode-Irele, Ondo state which has claimed the lives of about 18 people has been attributed to the the consumption of contaminated alcohol (gin).
This was revealed in a joint press statement given by the Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the Minister of State for Health, Mr Fidelis Nwankwo, the disease is not in anyway related to the Ebola virus disease as was earlier speculated.
In his words:
"Preliminary laboratory investigations indicates that the outbreak cannot be attributed to any infectious organism, bacterial or viral. The outbreak is also clearly not due to Ebola virus disease as feared by many at first. Epidemiological findings indicate a strong linkage of the outbreak to a consumption of a local gin that had been contaminated with methanol, a poisonous material. At this stage the particular poisonous substance is being ascertained. The results of this very detailed investigation currently been conducted by the government and our partners are still been awaited and will be made public as soon as possible"
Also, earlier on there had been speculations that the disease, which starts with a headache, blindness and eventually leads to death within few hours it attacks its victims, was of a spiritual nature, with traditionalists in the area linking the strange disease to the desecration of a shrine.