The death of 28 children following a fresh outbreak of lead poisoning has been confirmed in Niger state.
NAN reports that the latest incident had brought the number of deaths from lead poisoning in the country to 191, including 139 children.
A total of 420 cases were recorded in Zamfara and Niger states, respectively.
Minister of State for Health, Mr Fidelis Nwankwo, who briefed newsmen in abuja on Wednesday said that 68 fresh cases of the lead poisoning were recorded in Kawo and Magiro villages of Rafi local government area of the state.
“Sixty eight cases have been recorded as at May 12, 2015, and 28 deaths had occurred giving the case of fertility rate of 43 per cent,” said Nwankwo.
According to him, all the deceased were children below the age of five and comprised 17 females and 11 males.
He said the affected children were found to have a high serum lead level between 17 and 22 times higher than the acceptable limits established by the World Health Organisation.
The minister, however, said that the federal government adopted an eight-point strategy to tackle the situation upon receipt of the report from the Niger Government.
Nwankwo listed the measures to include advocacy meetings with the affected community leaders on the dangers of economic activities involving mining.
“We have commenced non-specific, palliative treatment of the sick children in Kagara hospital.
“We also commenced the process of incident command structure to enhance coordination of the outbreak response.
“Mobilisation of health facilities in Niger and Zamfara states to commence chelation of clinically ill children in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
Recall that the last lead poisoning case was recorded in Zamfara between March and June 2010, which claimed 163 lives, including 111 children.
The incident recorded 355 cases.