• Friday, July 19, 2024
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30 killed as NCDC warns of worsening cholera outbreak

Nigeria drowning in neglect: Floods, cholera, and the urgent need for action

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) on Thursday alerted the public of the increasing trend of cholera cases across the country, exacerbated by the intensifying rainy season.

As of June 11, 2024, the NCDC reported a total of 1,141 suspected and 65 confirmed cholera cases, resulting in 30 deaths across 96 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 30 states since January 1, 2024.

In its public advisory, the NCDC said 10 states contribute 90% to the burden of cholera including Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River,  Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa and Lagos States which recently reported an outbreak.

Cholera is a food and water-borne disease, caused by the ingestion of the organism Vibrio cholerae in contaminated water and food. Water is usually contaminated by the faeces of infected individuals. Contamination of drinking water can occur at the source, during transportation, or storage at home. Food may be contaminated by soiled hands, either during preparation or while eating.

At-risk populations include those with limited access to clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene, consumers of potentially contaminated food or fruits without proper washing and cooking, and healthcare workers providing direct patient care without standard precautions.

Symptoms of cholera include acute profuse, painless watery diarrhoea (rice water stools) of sudden onset, with or without vomiting. It may be associated with nausea, profuse vomiting and fever. Severe cases can lead to death within hours due to dehydration (massive body fluid loss). However, most infected people (about 80%) may only show mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all, according to the NCDC.

The  Centre informed that the multi-sectoral National Cholera Technical Working Group, which it is leading and comprising the Federal Ministries of
Environment and Water Resources, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other partners, have been providing support to the affected states.

This support includes risk communication, active case search, laboratory diagnosis, case management, provision of response commodities, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions, and dissemination of Cholera awareness jingles in both English and local languages.

The centres emphasized that the best prevention for cholera is ensuring access to safe, potable drinking water; proper sanitation and waste disposal; and appropriate hygiene including handwashing, while raw fruits and vegetables, food from street vendors, and raw or undercooked seafood should be avoided.

Read also: Cholera: NCDC blames state governments for increased cases

The Centre also called on state governments to prioritize action for solutions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation, and proper hygiene practices in communities.