Cholera outbreak in Nigeria claims 10 lives in four weeks.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease and Prevention Control (NCDC) has reported 210 new suspected cases of cholera and 10 deaths in the country between July 31 and August 27, 2023.
The NCDC said this in its latest monthly situation report on cholera, which covers epidemiological weeks 31 to 34. The report was published on its official website on September 25, 2023.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It can lead to severe dehydration and death if untreated. Cholera is mainly prevalent in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water.
According to the NCDC, the number of suspected cases and deaths of cholera in 2023 have decreased by 63 and 67 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2022. However, the case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.9 per cent remains high and above the national target of less than one per cent.
The NCDC said that as of August 27, 2023, a total of 84 suspected deaths and 2,860 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded across 25 states in Nigeria. Six states: Cross River, Katsina, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Niger, and Abia account for 62 per cent of the suspected cases in 2023.
The report also revealed that Zamfara state in the North-West region recorded the highest number of new suspected cases with 190, followed by Kano and Bayelsa with seven and five, respectively. Bauchi, Niger, and Borno states reported two cases each, while Gombe and Adamawa states reported one case each.
The NCDC said that out of the 21 cholera rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) conducted in the reporting period, nine were positive for cholera. Out of the 26 stool culture tests conducted, three were positive for Vibrio cholerae O1 serotype Ogawa.
The NCDC said that it is working with the national multi-sectoral cholera technical working group (TWG) to coordinate and monitor the response activities across the affected states. The TWG comprises representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, MSF, and other partners.
The NCDC advised the public to take preventive measures against cholera by ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water. If the water source is questionable, it should be treated by boiling, using water disinfectant tablets, or using a water filter. The public should also practice good hygiene by washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before handling or consuming food. Furthermore, foods should be thoroughly cooked especially seafood and vegetables that may have been contaminated by sewage or floodwater.
The NCDC urged anyone who experiences symptoms of cholera such as watery diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, and weakness to seek medical attention immediately at the nearest health facility. The NCDC also appealed to health workers to report any suspected case of cholera to the local government area or state disease surveillance and notification officers for prompt investigation and response.