Health authorities in Enugu have confirmed an outbreak of cholera at the popular New Artisan Market, where seven people have died and 19 hospitalised.
Enugu health commissioner Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, said a rapid response team, upon receiving reports of the incident conducted an immediate investigation and found patients “presented with sudden onset of passage of loose stool and vomiting.”
Obi further explained that “the ill persons identified within the area were immediately and safely evacuated to the state teaching hospital and are receiving treatment, while health education on safe and hygienic practices were given to the inhabitants of the market”.
“Further tests carried out by the State Ministry of Health at the Teaching Hospital revealed that all the persons were suffering from Cholera.
“Samples were collected for further confirmatory tests of this finding.
“Surveillance, contact tracing and risk assessment have commenced at the market and its environs, while the Enugu State Ministry of Health Emergency Operations Centre for Cholera outbreak response will be activated “.
Dr. Obi, who on behalf of the Enugu State Government, prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased and commiserated with those who lost their loved ones, advised “the general public to keep safe as the situation is under control and the Enugu State Ministry of Health will keep the public informed on future developments”.
Cholera is an infection caused by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
Risk factors include poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water.
“The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhoea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Symptoms range from none to mild to severe.
“Diarrhoea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and even death. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.
“It is prevented by improvements in sanitation, use of clean water, hand washing and vaccines. Treatment involves replacement of lost body fluids orally or intravenously, zinc supplementation and antibiotics.”