The death toll in the outbreak of an unknown disease in the ancient town of Ode-Irele in Ondo State has increased from 14 to 20.
The disease, which was reported for the first time some days ago, has left residents of the community in deep mourning. Ode-Irele is the headquarters of Irele Local Government Area. Traditionalists in the area have linked the strange disease to the desecration of a shrine. In the ancient town on Saturday, young women and girls were seen fetching water and dipping a particular leaf in it and also pouring water in a shrine in the town.
According to the traditional beliefs of the people the ailment might have emerged after some miscreants broke into the shrine few days back. The water and leaf are aimed at appeasing the gods. Traditional priests in the town, Isaac Akingboye and Akinmola Adegbenro, believe that a traditional god called Malokun had some days ago entered the town, which led to the strange ailment and deaths.
More Devastating Than Ebola
Addressing reporters on the strange disease on Saturday, the Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo adeyanju, said that the state government had, after it got news of the ailment, deployed a team of health experts to the community to examine the victims and put the spread under control.
He said “the ailment starts with headache, blindness and eventually leads to death within few hours it attacks its victims”.
The Primary Health Coordinator of the Local Government, Dr. Segun Ayodele and the Caretaker Chairman of the local Government, Dele Olatunji also gave further insight on the ailment that had not been identified by medical experts.
The people of Ode-Irele are hopeful that a quick and lasting solution would be given to the strange and deadly disease which they say is more devastating than Ebola. While the Doctors are carrying out research to find out the cause of the disease, the traditionalists are appeasing the gods for solutions they believe could come from there.