At least 71 people have been confirmed dead and other 746 lying critically ill of a yet to be diagnosed disease in northeast Nigeria's Adamawa State, reported on Friday. Bubakari Musa Kamale, state commissioner for information, confirmed the death toll, saying the nature of the disease has not been determined. The official said the state government is waiting for the outcome of the specimen sent for analysis. The epidemic has continued unabated for the past weeks, he said, ruling out the outbreak of cholera. "This is a strange disease that is characterized by excessive vomiting, diarrhea, high fever and in some instances, coughing," said the commissioner. According to Kamale, the samples have since been sent for analysis to teaching hospitals in southwest Nigeria's Oyo State and northern Borno State, as well as to France and the United States. He said the state government had taken measures to arrest the situation from spreading by providing drugs to the Health Ministry for administration in the affected areas.
Mr. Sambo also said the agency was trying to check the spread of cholera, which has claimed the lives of 70 people in Adamawa State.
"The death toll from the cholera outbreak stands at 71 out of the 746 cases recorded in some areas in the northern part of the state", Zainab Baba Kwanci told AFP from state capital city Yola.
"Cholera cases have been recorded in seven out of the 21 local governments in the state and the government is doing all within its powers to contain the outbreak. We have dispatched drugs to the affected areas", she said.
However a strike by medical workers in the state since July 25 was hampering efforts to assist the sick.
Last September, a spate of cholera outbreaks in northern Nigeria claimed almost 100 lives in Katsina, Zamfara and Bauchi states.
Cholera has claimed 77 lives in recent weeks in Adamawa State, leaving nearly 1,000 people hospitalised.
"At the moment we have recorded 77 deaths and 934 cases in the cholera outbreak," said Adamawa information commissioner Musa Bubakari by telephone from Yola, the state capital, which shares border with Taraba state.
In September last year, a spate of cholera outbreaks in northern Nigeria claimed almost 100 lives in Katsina, Zamfara and Bauchi States.
The epidemic has continued unabated for the past weeks, he said, ruling out the outbreak of cholera
Cholera as a Biological Weapon
During World War II, the Japanese biological weapons program known as Unit 731 located in Pingfan Manchuria (24 kilometers south of Harbin) experimented with Vibrio cholera as a weapons agent. It was reported that the Japanese dropped cholera and typhus cultures into more than 1,000 Chinese wells and reportedly caused 10,000 cases in 1941. However, an estimated 1,700 of the deaths were Japanese soldiers, a testimony to the difficulty of protecting one's own troops from biological agents and controlling infections.
South Africa's biological weapons program, Project Coast (1981-1994), under the direction of Colonel Wouter Basson, developed cholera as a possible biological agent. It was reported that during South Africa's civil war, cholera, anthrax and other bacteria were released into water in rebel-held areas.
Iraq's biological weapons program reportedly began with the start of the Al-Hazen Institute in 1974 where cholera was one of the biological agents under study. North Korea reportedly also studied cholera as a possible biological weapons agent.
It was the same case of suspected Cholera, but the Commissioner explained that, in the Maiha's experience, a different angle about the cause of the outbreak has being suspected.
"Maiha case was suspected to be connected to the use of herbicides on farms of hill tops which were later washed down into the streams and wells following heavy down pour and people use these wells and streams for drinking," she suspected.
The explanation given in the Madagali and Demsa cases, were still on the case of application of herbicides that are washed into their drinking streams.
Here, too, samples are taken to the laboratory to show whether the case of cholera was still being suspected.
The causes of the outbreak as further buttressed by the Commissioner involved indiscriminate defacation of faeces that steal its way into drinking wells and streams.