A strange ailment is reportedly claiming lives by the day in the Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The symptoms of the ailment mirrors those of the highly contagious novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Punch reports that at the last count, a dozen persons have died from the yet-to-be-identified ailment.

The story adds that two persons who died of the strange ailment were identified as Pauline and Fubara.

While Pauline died last Friday, Fubara died on Saturday, May 23.

NCDC officials arrive Rivers

“Fubara died yesterday, Pauline died a day before yesterday. Within two weeks, there are up to 11 persons who have died,” said Ezekiel, who resides in the community.

“As of today (Sunday), the NCDC (Nigeria Center for Disease Control) officials are in town and taking samples from volunteers to test for COVID-19 and will soon make their findings public.

“A lot of people in Bonny now have malaria and typhoid. Again, over the past one week, many people have lost their senses of smell and taste. That is the worry we have. The next thing we saw after that incident is that some young men started dying.

“For the past two weeks, we have lost 10 men; one of them who worked with Saipem died yesterday; his name is Fubara. It is very painful. We cannot trace this one because the NCDC just entered town on Saturday to ascertain the causes of death and loss of taste and smell.

“Some are saying that the loss of taste and smell is associated with COVID-19. Besides that, the rate of pollution in Bonny has increased. In fact, you cannot drink our underground water because the pipes that enter the water have polluted the water. There is fear everywhere.”

This is coming weeks after our correspondents recorded dead fishes found in Bonny Island Rivers State with causes unknown.