Mystery Ailment: 18 Dead In Nigeria, 5 Go Blind, ‘Locally Brewed Alcohol’ The Cause?

A mystery ailment kills 18 in Nigeria, and has left another five people in the hospital. According to the Hinderland Gazette, the strange illness started popping up earlier this month, and health officials have been trying to find out the cause. At this time, it is suspected that a “locally brewed alcohol” might have sickened these people. Blood, urine, and spinal fluid samples have been sent out for testing. A toxicology test will help determine if this is indeed what caused these people to get sick and die.

“Amidst conflicting and confusing information, the investigating team of experts sent by government to the area gathered that all the casualties died within hours of affliction. In all, 17 deaths have been confirmed in Ayadi Community and Ode Irele township,” said Dr. Dayo Adeyanju.

The mystery ailment responsible for the deaths of 18 people caused symptoms of blurred vision, weight loss, headache, and a loss of consciousness. According to Red Orbit, Ebola has been eliminated as the possible culprit. The five people who are still alive have reportedly lost their eyesight, and are now blind.

An emergency response task team has been set up, and Nigerian officials affiliated with the case have been working with the World Health Organization as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to identify the cause of these sicknesses. At this time, the ailment does not appear to be contagious, nor does it appear to be widespread.

As far as why some sort of alcohol poisoning is suspected, all of those who fell ill (or died) were at a bar drinking together before they all fell ill.

“The victims, who are commercial motorcyclists, gathered at some local joints to (drink) alcoholic substances mixed with roots and some other local herbs on the evening of the outbreak of the disease.”

Those who have had symptoms are between the ages of 25 and 60.

Another sickness that infected over 200 cruise ship passengers on two different boats made headlines last week. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, norovirus was said to be the cause of sickness on one ship where 100 passengers came down with bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Passengers sickened on the second cruise ship with the same symptoms may have fallen ill for different reasons. The CDC is said to be investigating, but still have not determined a cause for the “mystery” ailment on that ship.

[Photo via Wikimedia Commons]