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816 killed as cholera spreads across 23 states

Some 31,425 people are suspected infected across 23 states and the federal capital territory and 311 have been confirmed

A total 816 people have died in a cholera outbreak since the start of the year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says.

Some 31,425 people are suspected infected across 22 states and the federal capital territory and 311 have been confirmed, according to a situation report NCDC released on Monday.

“Between the 1st of January and 1st of August 2021, 31,425 suspected cases of cholera, 311 confirmed cases and 816 deaths have been reported from 22 states and FCT,” the report said.

The report said the affected states are Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, and Kano.

Others are Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Adamawa, Katsina, Borno and FCT.

NCDC said the National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated on the 22nd of June 2021 following an increase in the number of cholera cases.

While saying that  a reactive oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign led by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) was conducted in Bauchi local government area, Bauchi State in July , it added that none of these medical interventions will solve the underlying issues leading to cholera outbreaks.

The centre said cholera is a waterborne disease, and the risk of transmission is higher when there is poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.

“The wrong disposal of refuse and practices such as open defecation endanger the safety of water used for drinking and personal use. These lead to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

“Without proper water, sanitation, and hygiene, Nigeria remains at risk of cholera cases and deaths.

“The long-term solution for cholera control lies in access to safe drinking water, maintenance of proper sanitation and hygiene. “We continue to advocate to state governments to prioritise action for solutions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation and good hygiene practices in communities,” it said.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by a bacteria called Vibrio cholera. It is a potentially life-threatening, and primarily a water-borne disease.

Symptoms of  the disease include nausea and vomiting , dehydration which can lead to shock, kidney injury and sudden death , passage of profuse pale and milky, watery stool (rice water coloured), and body weakness.

NCDC urged Nigerians to keep their environments clean, only drink or use water that is boiled and stored safely, ensure food is cooked and stored in a clean and safe environment, avoid open defecation and also wash their hands regularly with soap and running water.

It also advised people to visit a health facility immediately, if they have sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

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