ATTENTION!!! NCDC Panics Over Cholera Spread In Nigeria

ATTENTION!!! NCDC Panics Over Cholera Spread In Nigeria—The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has urged state governments to prioritise actions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation, and proper hygiene practices in communities.


The call is contained in a comprehensive advisory released to the public, healthcare workers, and state governments on mitigating the spread of cholera.


The Centre reported 1,141 suspected cases of cholera, with 65 confirmed cases and 30 deaths across 96 local government areas in 30 states from January 1 to June 11.


The NCDC highlighted that 10 states comprising Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa and Lagos states account for 90 percent of the cholera burden in the country.


The Centre explained that cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by vibrio cholerae, ingested through contaminated water and food.


Water contamination usually results from the faeces of infected individuals, occurring during water collection, transportation, or storage at home. Food can also be contaminated by unclean hands during preparation or consumption.


The Centre noted that the populations that are at risk are those with limited access to clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene, consumers of potentially contaminated food or fruits without proper washing and cooking, and healthcare workers providing direct patient care without standard precautions.


The symptoms of cholera, according to the Centre, include acute, profuse, painless watery diarrhoea (rice water stools), sudden onset vomiting, often accompanied by nausea and fever.


Severe cases can lead to death within hours due to dehydration from massive fluid loss.


However, the NCDC stressed that for most infected individuals, about 80 percent may show mild symptoms or be asymptomatic.

The NCDC cautioned that the best prevention against cholera includes ensuring access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and waste disposal, and adopting appropriate hygiene practices, including regular hand washing.

It advised people to avoid raw fruits and vegetables, food from street vendors, and raw or undercooked seafood.

“Protect cooked food and boiled water from contamination by flies and unsanitary handling. Leftover food should be reheated thoroughly before consumption,” he said.

The agency said that persons experiencing diarrhoea should avoid preparing or serving food or hauling water for others to prevent the spread of the infection.

“Avoid open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of refuse. Proper disposal of waste and regular clearing of sewage are essential.

“Anyone experiencing sudden watery diarrhoea should seek immediate medical attention and refrain from self-medication,” he said.

It said Nigerians should always practise standard safety precautions, such as wearing gloves when handling patients or providing care to ill individuals.

The public health agency said that people should intensify efforts to promptly report suspected cholera cases to facilitate timely intervention.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has called for adherence to precautionary measures to ensure children’s safety amid the cholera outbreak as schools resume from the mid-term and Sallah break.

In an advisory issued to parents, guardians, and school authorities, the government urged all to adhere to safety guidelines to ensure the health and safety of children.

It called for daily health checks and monitoring of a child’s health for symptoms such as passage of frequent watery stool with or without vomiting.

The government appealed to parents to keep their children at home if they exhibit any signs of illness and seek medical advice.

The state called for hand hygiene by ensuring that a child carries a hand sanitiser and encouraging frequent hand washing with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom.

It advised schools to ensure that all school food handlers follow strict hygiene practices to prevent contamination and spread of cholera.

“Ensure that Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) are available at school clinics or bays to manage dehydration cases promptly.

“Schools should notify the emergency hotlines immediately in case of any health emergency or suspected cholera cases,” it said.

The government appealed to parents to stay in touch with their children’s school for updates on health guidelines and report any health concerns to the school promptly.

“Together, we can create a safe and healthy environment for our children as they return to their educational activities. Stay safe and vigilant,” the government advised.

On June 11, Lagos State alerted residents to the outbreak of cholera in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, had disclosed that laboratory tests confirmed that the outbreak was due to cholera with the identified strain being highly aggressive and contagious, with potential for widespread transmission. He disclosed that 350 suspected cases of cholera were reported in 29 wards across multiple local government areas.

According to him, there were 17 confirmed cases and 15 fatalities attributed to severe dehydration caused by delayed presentation at health facilities.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had called for extensive measures to protect school children against the cholera outbreak in the country.

UNICEF said cholera ‘critically affects’ children and the young population, noting that efforts should be made to protect them.

The agency called for efforts to prevent disruption in the academic calendar over the spread of the disease.

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