Cholera has claimed 325 lives in six months with 14,343 suspected cases reported in 16 states.
The latest cholera situation report of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that the affected states as at June 27 were Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa.
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The report said there was an increase in the number of new cases in the last two weeks of June, adding that “Zamfara with 191 cases, Bauchi 2163 cases, Kano 891 cases, Kaduna 129 cases, and Plateau, 82, account for 95.2% of 3,543 cases reported in the last two weeks.”
Findings by Daily Trust revealed that the cases and deaths have been rising and spreading to more states since then.
For instance, fatalities from cholera in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have risen to 60, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu said yesterday.
According to the NCDC, cholera is an acute diarrhoea disease caused by a bacteria called vibrio cholera. It is a potentially life-threatening, and primarily a water-borne disease.
The bacteria is transmitted mainly through the faeco-oral, that is by the ingestion of contaminated food or water and its transmission is closely linked to inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
Symptoms of cholera include nausea and vomiting, dehydration which can lead to shock, kidney injury and sudden death, the passage of profuse pale and milky, watery stool (rice watercoloured), and body weakness.
It could also come with intense thirst and decrease in urine quantity, with or without abdominal pain, and with or without fever.
Doctors say many affected persons may not manifest symptoms or may develop a milder form of the disease but will still remain carriers spreading the disease.
FCT intensifies sensitisation as cases hit 60
The FCT administration said it has intensified community sensitisation on disease as cases hit 60.
Cholera first broke out in the Abuja Municipal Area Council on June 23, 2021, killing at least seven out of the 91 suspected cases.
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who spoke at the continuation of community sensitisation on cholera and other severe acute diarrhoea diseases outbreaks in Pyakasa and Gwagwa respectively also revealed that suspected cases have risen from 604 to 698 within 72 hours.
According to a statement by the minister’s media aide, Mr. Austin Elemue, Aliyu was represented by the Ag. Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Iwot Ndaeyo.
10 deaths recorded in Niger
The Niger State Director of Public Health, Dr Ibrahim Idris, said the state has recorded 10 deaths from cholera, attributing the fatalities to ignorance on the part of the patients affected.
“They’re about 400 cases of gastroenteritis some of which have been confirmed to be cholera. Over 10 local government councils in the state are affected as we speak but no case has been recorded in the state capital which would have been worst for the state because of its population,” he said.
He said the state government had started sensitisation campaign and also released money for drugs for treatment.
He said the councils affected include: Tafa, Suleja Gurara, Kotangora, Magama, Rijau, among others.
33 people killed in Kaduna
Executive Secretary of Disease Control Agency Kaduna State, Dr Hamza Ibrahim Ikara, said since the outbreak of cholera in the state 638 people were affected; out of which, 33 people have died in the state.
He added that the state government had already formed a state Rapid Response Team that has visited the 16 local governments affected.
He said the government had distributed water chlorine, which can be used to treat the water source at the affected LGAs.
30 die in Jigawa
The Permanent Secretary of the Jigawa State Ministry of Health, Dr. Salisu Mu’azu said that at least 30 people have been confirmed dead following the outbreak of cholera in nine local government areas of the state.
Briefing newsmen in Dutse on Monday, he confirmed that 2,000 cases have so far been reported, noting that the first case was recorded in the last one month in Hadejia and Dutse before spreading to the other affected local government areas in the state.
4 deaths in Yobe
In Yobe, four deaths have been recorded, two other patients are hospitalised following the cholera outbreak that hit Girgir community in Jakusko Local government Area in the state.
The Executive Secretary of Yobe State Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr Babagana Kundi Machina said so far the case is witnessed in only one community in Jakusko out of the 17 local government councils in the state.
Dr Machina said the index case entered the state from neighbouring Jigawa a few days ago.
Ahmed Emre Girgir, a resident in the area who spoke with our correspondent via phone said the incident has thrown fear among residents.
953 cases and 6 deaths in Plateau
The Plateau State Government says cholera cases have reduced drastically compared to the cases recorded in the month of May and June.
Daily Trust had on July 8, reported how the state recorded about 953 cases and 6 deaths within the month of May and June this year.
But on Thursday, the State Commissioner of Health, Nimkong Lar, told Daily Trust that for the past 20 days, the state recorded only one case.
Claims 119 in Kano
According to the Kano State Ministry of Health, from March 5, this year to June 21, 2021, about 119 persons died from cholera in Kano State. The deaths were recorded from the over 3,000 persons who contracted the disease within the period.
An Assistant Director of Public Health in the ministry, Bashir Lawan, told newsmen that the epidemic has affected 33 out of the state’s 44 local government areas.
According to Mr Lawan, over 2,000 of the infected persons have recovered, while over 100 are currently receiving treatment at different health facilities in seven local government areas.
Mr Lawan said Gaya and Bichi Local Government Areas have the highest number of infected persons.
However, the Kano State House of Assembly called on the Kano State Government to expedite action in order to curtail the spread of cholera in the state.
Some of those affected told Daily Trust that they experienced difficulty in accessing facilities whenever there are outbreaks.
A father, whose son suffered from the cholera outbreak recently said he couldn’t get serious attention in the hospital when he took his son for treatment.
Cholera kills 25 persons in Bayelsa
Despite the fact that Bayelsa State has not recorded any reported case of death from cholera between May, June and July 2021, the disease had killed 25 persons in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state in April.
According to indigenes of the area and some environmental experts, the blockage of rivers and sources of drinkable water due to ongoing construction of Yenagoa-Oporoma road had made the once freshwater, which the residents along the river depend on for drinking and domestic purposes stagnant.
An environmentalist, Mr Furoebi Akene, however, advised Bayelsa State Government to reopen the blocked Silver River to check the spread of cholera in the area.
Akene, Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Preservation and Development (CEPAD) said during an interview with newsmen on Monday that the blockade has worsened the spread of the infectious disease.
He noted that the construction of the Yenagoa-Oporoma, which led to the blockade was avoidable as there were many alternatives that would not require blockage of the water channel.
Commissioner for Health in Bayelsa, Dr Newton Igwele had on April 8 confirmed the outbreak of Cholera in Southern Ijaw LGA and assured that the state has deployed epidemiologists and acquired vaccines to tackle the disease.
NGO says 591 cases recorded in Bauchi, urges NCDC to declare state of emergency
ActionAid Nigeria has called on the Bauchi State Government and NCDC to declare a state of emergency on the outbreak of cholera in the state.
Director of Programmes of ActionAid, Hajia Suwaiba Yakubu Jibrin, made the call in Dass town where over 300 persons have been admitted for the disease.
She said, “In fact, there is an urgent need for the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to come to the aid of the people of Bauchi State to stem the spread of the disease to other communities. It is even surprising that the NCDC is yet to wade in despite a report of 591 confirmed cases between 29th May to July 16th 2021.”
According to her, as at June 17, the State’s Primary Health Care Development Agency said over 2,800 persons were hospitalised while 42 deaths were recorded.
She implored households to observe critical hygiene rules during Sallah celebration and beyond by ensuring that food is prepared under hygienic conditions to prevent further spread of cholera that may claim the lives of the innocent.
The Residence Programme Coordinator of ActionAid, Anicetus Atakpu regretted that “There is a disconnect between agencies of government because if there is better synergy, the record of infected persons and fatality will not be this high, so we advise the government to bring in more hands”.
The organisation had donated 1,500 kits to cholera treatment centres in Bauchi, Ningi, Dass and Toro.
The Bauchi State Ministry of Health has declined to comment on the current situation of the cholera with various conflicting figures casualties and infections of hundreds ravaging the people of the state.
When contacted, Head of ministry officials handling the cholera outbreak and Executive Chairman Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency Dr Rilwanu Mohammed insisted that he will not give any updates or comments on the cholera situation in the state.
How to prevent cholera
Medical experts say maintaining personal and environmental hygiene are ways people can protect themselves from getting the disease. This includes regular washing of hands with soap and water.
The environmental hygiene involves clearing away the dirty water and making sure the water that one consumes is treated, through boiling or using chlorinated solutions before ingesting, to kill the bacteria in the water.
They also advised people who are taken care of anyone with diarrhoea, who is vomiting to wash their hands very well whenever they come in contact with the person’s clothing and faeces.
NCDC‘s response to the outbreak
The Director General of NCDC Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said the response is being coordinated by the national multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) hosted at NCDC, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and partners.
He said the state-level EOC has also been activated in some states , adding that the centre is also conducting training on cholera surveillance, hotspots mapping and also developed state-level preparedness and response plans.
The centre said given the increase in cholera cases, it continues to advocate improved access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene while responding to the outbreak.
Contributed by Ojoma Akor & Terkula Igidi (Abuja), Romoke W. Ahmad (Minna), Mohammed I.Yaba (Kaduna), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Ibrahim Baba Saleh (Damaturu), Ado Abubakar Musa (Jos), Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu (Kano), Bassey Willie (Yenagoa) & Olatunji Omirin (Maiduguri) Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi)