Seven people died on Sunday in a village in central Ivory Coast near Bouaké, where 59 others were hospitalized due to an illness of still unknown origin, hospital and local sources told AFP on Monday.
Seven people died, five at the Bouaké University Hospital and two in Niangban, a village located about thirty kilometers to the south, a hospital source said.
"We have a total of 59 (people) hospitalized" at the Bouaké University Hospital, "mostly children and some adolescents", added this source, specifying that the symptoms of the disease are "vomiting" and "diarrhea”.
“Those who died” are between 5 and 12 years old, confirmed the village chief of Niangban, Emmanuel Kouamé N'Guessan. He reported that "around fifty people" were "at the Bouaké University Hospital" . On Sunday, a nurse's aide informed him that children were "dying," he said.
A close friend of the chef, Célestin Kouadio Koffi, indicated that according to rumors, corn porridge was the cause of the contamination.
Zitanick Amoin Yao, the mother of the first victim, claimed to have bought porridge which she gave to her son. After an urge to go to the toilet, she said, "he started to vomit when I gave him the medicine that was given to me at the Djébonouan hospital" . “We went back to the hospital and they told us to go to the Bouaké University Hospital, that’s where he died at the age of three,” she said.
Agnès Aya Konan also lost her daughter. She refuses to accuse the seller, indicating however that her children ate the same porridge on Sunday.
In February, in the village of Kpo-Kahankro, also close to Bouaké, two people were sentenced to five years in prison after contamination with clostridium, a bacteria which had caused 16 deaths according to an official report, 21 according to the villagers.