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Cholera outbreak: 80 deaths recorded

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By Usman Oladimeji

In September, the NCDC recorded 4,153 cholera infections and 80 deaths.

Cholera remains a global threat to Public Health, an indicator of inequity and lack of social development as recorded instances continue to increase. According to the NCDC report, 80 cholera infections claimed 80 lives across the country in September. So far, in 2022, 31 states have reported suspected cholera infection cases with 256 deaths. In the monthly report, from September 5 to October 2, 2022, 9 states were reported to have recorded 4,153 suspected cases – Borno (2,626), Yobe (718), Gombe (317), Zamfara (212), Bauchi (119), Jigawa (95), Sokoto (47), Katsina (16) and Adamawa (3).

In line with the report, as of October 2, 2022, a total of 10,745 suspected cases, including 256 deaths (CFR 2.4 per cent), were reported from 31 states. Out of the suspected cases since the beginning of the year, the age group from 5 to 14 years is the most affected for both males and females. Generally, out of total suspected cases, males represent 48 percent, with females having the highest at 52 percent.

The reported suspected cases continue to increase.

There was a 42 percent increase in the number of new suspected cases recorded in September Epi week 36-39 (4,153) compared with August Epi week 31-35 (2,428). In the weekly report, 1,006 suspected cases were recorded, with Borno (883), Gombe (97), Bauchi (15), Yobe (8), and Sokoto (3) cases. In week 39, Borno and Gombe states accounted for 97% of all suspected cases reported. The NCDC affirms the National Multi-Sectoral Cholera’s Technical Working Group effort to monitor response across the states’ Cumulative Epi-Summary.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Most people infected with cholera have mild or no symptoms, but cholera can be severe. Approximately 1 in 10 people who get sick with this disease will develop severe symptoms such as watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

Majority of households lack access to essential hygiene services.

The NCDC urges Healthcare Providers to examine for signs of dehydration in patients with profuse watery diarrhea, including rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity, dry mucous membranes, and low blood pressure, stating that people with severe cholera can develop severe dehydration, which can lead to kidney failure. Severe dehydration can lead to shock, coma, and death within hours if not treated. Public health experts have explained that epidemics will persist as long as Nigeria’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) standards remain inadequate.

A latest report on the water condition in the country, sanitation, and hygiene shows that 83 percent of Nigerian household members lack access to essential hygiene services. According to the report, the country’s WASH sector is in poor shape, with 90 percent of the population lacking access to essential water, sanitation, and hygiene services. In 2019, approximately 60 million Nigerians lacked access to proper drinking water, 80 million lacked access to proper sanitation, and 167 million lacked access to essential handwashing facilities.

Government actions to revamp the WASH services.

In recent years, in a bid to strengthen its commitment to improving access to WASH services, the Nigerian government, spurred on by the need for Nigeria’s WASH sector to meet up with its regional counterparts, led the government to the launching of the National Action Plan (NAP) for the Revitalization of Nigeria’s Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector, aimed at ensuring universal access to sustainable and safely managed WASH services by 2030, commensurate with the Sustainable Development Goals.


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