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How Nasarawa family members get paralysed at 18

One after the other, six members in a family of eight became paralysed in similar circumstances. Now, they are worried, their siblings are not safe.

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A “mysterious” disease has paralysed six out of eight members of one family in Gitata along Keffi-Kachia highway in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

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Our correspondent who visited the family met the victims who are orphans battling with the illness amidst poor living condition without support.

According to 38-year-old Danlami Danladi, their father and mother died in 1990 and 2017, respectively, without physical defects and wondered why this was affecting them.

Asabe, the first child of the family married with five children, Pius, the third, Maikasuwa, the fourth, Danjuma, the fifth and Cecelia, the sixth child are all paralysed. 

Narrating his ordeal, Danlami said, he didn’t notice any sign of illness in the initial stage, but noticed that gradually he began to lose strength while running and lifting heavy items.

He explained that he didn’t experience either fever or pains but remembered the paralysis started in 2001 and after visits to many hospitals nothing was detected as the cause. However, he lamented that financial constraints and being an orphan prevented him from further seeking medical attention.

But not deterred by the challenge, he started doing commercial phone calls to sustain him and his siblings and later found a container, started charging phones as well as repairs.

According to him, his condition deteriorated last year and he can no longer continue the business and had remained indoors.

Danlami told Daily Trust on Sunday that they can only pray for a mysterious healing too. He noted that two of his brothers, who are tailors and financially assisting, are also down with paralyses.

He appealed to the Nasarawa State government to assist them with medication and also the remaining two members of the family that are not infected by the affliction. 

Fifteen-year-old Joshua and the last child of the family told Daily Trust on Sunday that he is really afraid of what is happening in the family. 

The Junior Secondary School (JSS) II student said, “I’m really afraid because I don’t want to be infected with this disease because we are the ones helping with house work, cooking food, getting water and helping them with other activities in the home.”

Also, 19-year-old Hannatu, not infected by the disease said though she has not experienced any signs or symptoms of illness recently but is scared and want the government to come to our aid with appropriate medical attention.

Pius, who is 35 years old and the second to be paralysed told our correspondent that “It started mysteriously one day. I felt very weak. I had no fever or pains but l lost strength. Before long, I woke up one day with a paralysis on my legs. It was in 2011 when the disease struck. I could not walk on my own since then.”

He said life has been very difficult with the health challenges and sustenance has been tough since the paralysis spread to his hands too.

Also Asabe, said she cannot vividly recall when it started but collaborated with her other siblings that it began with the weakness of the body and her body became weighty but thought it was stress.

She recalled that the first day it struck, it was in the farm on her left leg and had to receive assistance before she could get home.

“Our major concern at the moment is the health condition because this disease has crippled our family. We want government and privileged individuals to support us in getting necessary medical attention so that our lives can return to normal,” she said.

For 26-year-old Danjuma, who uses a modified tricycle for physically-challenged, told Daily Trust on Sunday that only God knows the cause of the “mysterious” disease that befell the family.

Danjuma said, “Our greatest fear now is the remaining two members that are not infected because they are the ones that take care of the family. They support the physically challenge dones. They carry Danlami to the restroom and do other tasks,” he explained.

“I am now running a phone recharging shop. They push me to shop on my tricycle and I crawl into enter the shop. I don’t move except if necessary and whenever I want to move I will call them to help me and after the day’s job they will guide me back home. So these members served as the last hope of the family that is why we are appealing to government to urgently come to their aid with medical attention that may prevent them from this strange disease,” he appealed.

When contacted a medical doctor at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, who don’t want to be named, because he is not permitted to do so, after listening to the ssymptoms of the disease, said he cannot outrightly say anything until proper medical history and investigation was conducted on the victims.

He noted that the best was for the victims to seek medical services from a primary healthcare centre and after the initial historical background and necessary investigations, get a referral to a tertiary health institution for onward investigation and further medication.

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