A mysterious disease caused the death of seven people and 59 others were transferred to a hospital in the city of Bouake in central Ivory Coast, according to what medical and local sources reported to Agence France-Presse yesterday, Monday.

A source at the University Hospital in Bouake said that seven people had died as of Monday as a result of this disease, five of whom died in the hospital and the remaining two in the village of Nyangban, located south of the city, about 30 kilometers away.

He added, “We have a total of 59 people receiving treatment in the hospital, the vast majority of whom are children and there are some teenagers.”

While he confirmed that the source of this disease is not yet known, he explained that its most prominent symptoms are “vomiting” and “diarrhea.”

For his part, the head of the village of Nyangban, Emmanuel Kwame N’Guessan, said, “Those who died were between 5 and 12 years old.” He added, “About fifty people were transferred to the University Hospital in Bouake to receive treatment.”

A nurse was quoted as saying on Sunday that there were children “dying.”

For his part, Celestine Kouadio Kofi, a close associate of the village chief, said that many residents believe that the disease is caused by corn porridge contaminated with some bacteria.

According to Zitanek Amwin Yao, the mother of the first child to die from this disease, her son became ill after she bought porridge and fed it to him.

She explained that after her three-year-old child ate the porridge, he developed diarrhea, then “he started vomiting when I gave him the medicine they gave me at Gibonwane Hospital, so we went back to the hospital and they asked us to go to the University Hospital in Bouake, where he died.”

In turn, Agnes Aya Konan lost her daughter, but she refuses to blame the porridge or the seller for her child’s death, stressing that the rest of her children ate the same porridge on Sunday and no harm happened to them.

In February, two people in Kbo-Kahankro, another village near Bouake, were sentenced to five years in prison after Clostridium bacteria caused the deaths of 16 people, according to an official tally, and 21, according to villagers.

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