27 children have died in Niger State following a fresh outbreak of lead poisoning, authorities say.
The Federal Government confirmed the deaths saying that the outbreak occurred due to illegal mining activities in the state.
This was disclosed on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, by the Minister of State for Health, Fidelis Nwankwo, during a press briefing in Abuja.
“The lead poisoning was confirmed and it is confirmed that most of the people affected are children below the age of five years. The affected children were found to have high serum lead levels of between 171.5 – 224ug Pb/dl (normal is less than 10ug Pb/dl). That means, 17-22 times higher than the acceptable limits, as established by the World Health Organization,” Nwankwo said.
“The rapid assessment by the NCDC/FMOH/MMSD revealed that as at May 12, 2015, 65 cases and 27 deaths had occurred, giving a case fatality rate of 43 percent. All the 27 cases were children below the age of five made up of 17 females and 11 males,” he added.
Nwankwo stated further that animals in the area had also died while 63 cases of the outbreak had been confirmed.
The affected communities are Shikira, Magiro Ward and Kawo, all in Rafi Local Government.