At least 20 people, mostly children, have died since December from a mysterious illness in a village in the centre of the West African country of Cote d'Ivoire, according to a health bulletin obtained by French news agency AFP through local sources.
”Up to 26 January, we had 12 dead. On Thursday, the death toll rose to 20, including two adults,” said Paul Kouassi, president of a youth association in the village of Kpo-Kahankro, located about 20 kms from the central town of Bouaké. Until then “no adults had been affected,” Kouassi said.
This assessment was confirmed by other villagers. Kouassi added that the adult victims were two women aged 60 and 70. They died in Bouaké hospital “after showing the same symptoms as the first victims,” namely vomiting and diarrhea, he explained.
Another 33 other villagers were recently admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit with similar symptoms.
Since the first deaths, several ministers have travelled to the village to assess the situation on the ground. The results of their analyses, which should clarify what is going on, are still being awaited.