The mystery deepens in the heart of Ivory Coast as seven individuals have tragically lost their lives in a village near Bouaké. In addition, fifty-nine others have been hospitalized due to an unidentified illness, as reported by local and hospital sources on Monday.
Among the casualties, five succumbed at the Bouaké University Hospital (CHU de Bouaké), while two tragically passed away in Niangban, a village situated approximately thirty kilometers to the south, according to a hospital source. The CHU de Bouaké is currently treating a total of 59 individuals, primarily children and a few adolescents, who have fallen ill due to symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, characteristics of this mysterious ailment.
The victims ranged in age from 5 to 12 years old and were admitted for medical care. Emmanuel Kouamé N’Guessan, the village chief of Niangban, confirmed their ages and revealed that approximately fifty more individuals were hospitalized at the CHU de Bouaké.
The chief shared his account of being alerted to the tragedy by a nursing assistant on Sunday, who informed him of the children “in the process of dying.” According to local rumors, this illness may be linked to the consumption of maize porridge.
Zitanick Amoin Yao, the mother of the first victim, claimed to have purchased maize porridge, which she fed to her son. After experiencing a need to use the restroom, she stated, “He began vomiting when I gave him the medication I received from the Djébonouan hospital.” She further explained, “We returned to the hospital, and they instructed us to go to the CHU de Bouaké, where he sadly passed away at the age of three.”
Agnès Aya Konan, who also tragically lost her daughter, refrained from accusing the seller but mentioned that her children had consumed the same maize porridge on Sunday.
This incident bears a resemblance to a situation in February, in the village of Kpo-Kahankro, near Bouaké, where two individuals were sentenced to five years in prison following an outbreak of Clostridium contamination. Official figures reported 16 deaths, while villagers claimed the death toll reached 21.
The mysterious disease continues to perplex authorities, and investigations are ongoing to determine its origin and prevent further casualties.