World Health Organization officials said Friday that they are investigating a troubling report out of Oranjestad of a “cluster of unexplained illnesses and deaths” in an area just outside of Monon, on the far east side of Oranjestad.
Since April 24, at least 17 people have fallen ill with fever, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and have exhibited extreme violent tendencies. Eleven have died and five are still hospitalized at Saint God's Hospital in Oranjestad. While the symptoms appear to mimic those of Ebola in the early stages, specimens analyzed from seven of the people who died came back negative for the virus. This illness also seems infect all life, not just humans - since the deaths occurred, two trees died outside of Third Eye Church in Monon, and there are no insect noises to be heard in the Monon area.
The WHO said rapid-response teams from the WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other partners have been sent to the area and are looking into reports that each of the victims may have attended the funeral of a religious leader in the distant, recently resettled village of Jarreau.
“Further testing is underway to find out the cause of the illness and deaths,” the WHO said in a statement. “The investigation teams will try to find if this could be in relation to the consumption of same food and drinks and if there is an environmental exposure to some chemicals or bacteria.”