How to prevent cholera | Dailytrust

How to prevent cholera

A few weeks ago, an unidentified disease killed six persons in Koya village of Minjibir Local Government Area of Kano State. It also left many others hospitalised.

It wasn’t long before the disease was identified to be cholera, and an outbreak confirmed by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

According to a report by the NCDC, there were 158 suspected cases of cholera in the recent outbreak in the state, with 11 deaths recorded.

Daily Trust had earlier spoken to the village head of the community, Sulaiman Muhammad, who confirmed the deaths, adding that about 40 other persons were hospitalised with diarrhoea and vomiting.

He also confirmed that the patients were mostly women and children.

This is coming just weeks after the state recorded about 10 deaths and the hospitalisation of over 200 people as a result of drinking expired drinks.

Cases of cholera have also been reported in Bauchi, Plateau and some other states in the past few days.

A study conducted in 2019 revealed that since 1970, Kano has experienced annual Cholera outbreaks, except for 2012.

The study showed that the outbreaks were usually recorded in the rural areas with a predominance of poor waste management, open defecation and poor hygiene practices.

The study also identified the affected local government areas to include those with one or more water bodies, like Minjibir.

The Minjibir River runs through Minjibir and was used in the past to dispose of textile waste as well as for irrigation.

Other wastes, refuse and animal droppings have washed into the river.

The river is the major source of water for rural residents in the area, thereby making it easy for residents to contract water-borne diseases such as cholera.

What to know about cholera

According to NCDC, cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by a bacteria called vibrio cholerae; it is a potentially life-threatening, and primarily a water-borne disease.

The bacteria are 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, passage of profuse pale and milky, watery stool (rice water coloured), and body weakness.

It could also come with intense thirst and a decrease in urine quantity, with or without abdominal pain, and with or without fever.

According to a public health expert, Dr. Abutalib Abdusalam, cholera is a disease of hygiene and sanitation.

He said, “It is actually a water-borne disease that causes diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting. It leaves the infected person severely dehydrated.

“It is usually not characterised by fever and it is highly contagious.”

Experts’ views

According to Dr. Abdusalam, cholera can be sporadic or a recurrent epidemic. “For what is happening in Kano, it is recurrent and so we have to look at the root cause of the outbreak.”

He said the “root causes can be natural or cultural causes or farming practices. For example, natural causes may revolve around a lack of water in an environment and the need for people to secure water from other sources which may not be safe.

“To prevent cholera is to provide safe, clean water for all, and also to keep our environments clean and free from things that can contaminate our water,” Dr. Abdusalam said.

Speaking on the need for safe and accessible water, Dr. Hussaini Tijjani, the Executive Secretary, Kano Primary Healthcare Board, said the state was working to provide clean and safe water to Minjibir and its environs.

Although he didn’t say how exactly the state would achieve that, he said, “the government is already providing them with safe drinking water.”

Dr. Tijjani also said the government was educating citizens on good hygiene practices.

“Currently, the government is providing drugs to those infected, and also conducting health education to discourage some of the harmful practices such as open defecation and poor waste disposal which can contaminate safe drinking water,” he said.

He said the outbreak has so far been contained and that there was only one active case at the time of this report.

Experts said maintaining personal and environmental hygiene are ways people could protect themselves from contracting the disease. This includes regular washing of hands with soap and water.

Environmental hygiene involves clearing dirty water and making sure the water that one consumes is treated through boiling or application of chlorinated solutions before ingesting to kill the bacteria in it, they said.

They also advised people taking care of anyone presenting with diarrhoea and vomiting to wash their hands very well whenever they come in contact with the person’s clothing and faeces.