About 60 per cent of ‘mysterious deaths’ recorded in Kano State may have been triggered by COVID-19, an official has said.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made this known at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.
The northwestern state had in April experienced a spate of unknown deaths, about 979, including first-class traditional rulers, health workers and academics.
With the minister saying 50 to 60 per cent of the deaths were traced to COVID-19, it means between 490 and 587 of the deaths were traced to the virus.
Preliminary investigations earlier suggested that many of the victims died from malaria and cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM), according to the state government.
Some of these unexplained deaths were also reported in states like Jigawa and Bauchi states where about 150 persons reportedly died.
Mr Ehanire, however, said investigations were ongoing to ascertain the real cause of these deaths.
As of April 7, Kano has recorded 999 of the 12,486 COVID-19 cases in the country.
Mr Ehanire said findings from the investigations show that about 50 to 60 per cent of the mysterious deaths is traceable to COVID-19.
He said the findings were contained in the report of the Ministerial Task Team deployed to Kano to support the COVID-19 response.
He said 979 deaths were recorded in eight municipal local government areas of the state within the period.
“With regard to unexplained deaths in Kano which occurred in April over a five-week period, the team confirmed that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in eight municipal LGA in the state at a rate of 43 deaths per day.
“The peak was in the second week of April. By the beginning of May, the death rate had reduced to 11 deaths per day it used to be.
“The verbal autopsy revealed that about 56 per cent of deaths had occurred at home while 38 per cent were in a hospital.
“investigation suggests that between 50-60 per cent of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to COVID-19, in the face of pre-existing ailments,” he said.
He also said most of the fatalities were in people over 65 years of age.
Should the deaths be finally confirmed to have been caused by COVID-19, it will more than double the deaths attributed to the virus in Nigeria.
Nigeria had confirmed 354 deaths from the virus as of Sunday night.