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Here’s What You Need to Know About the Reported Cholera Outbreak in Lagos

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The Lagos State Ministry of Health has confirmed a cholera outbreak in the state. Earlier this week, Lagos residents raised concerns over their suspicions of the outbreak, and following reported cases of severe gastroenteritis, the Lagos State Government has called for “heightened vigilance and the adoption of precautionary measures” to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

Akin Abayomi, the commissioner of health identified communities in Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe as potentially impacted local government areas.

“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis. We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states,” he said.

The commissioner also highlighted an increase in cases of severe vomiting and diarrhoea following recent rains. He emphasised that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation are most at risk.

According to the World Health Organisation, cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Its transmission is linked to inadequate access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing,” Akin Abayomi explained.

Symptoms of cholera include:

  • Severe watery diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fever, and potential collapse

Treatment options range from oral rehydration salts (ORS) for mild cases to intravenous fluids for severe dehydration, administered only in medical facilities. Preventing the spread involves:

  • Ensuring safe drinking water by boiling, chlorination, or bottled water. Avoid ice products made from untreated water.
  • Proper sanitation practices like toilets, safe waste disposal, and avoiding open defecation.
  • Consistent handwashing with soap and clean water, especially before eating, preparing food, and using the toilet.
  • Following food safety guidelines.

Residents are advised to rely on the Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for updates and guidance. Report suspected cases to hotlines 08023169485, 08137412348, or helplines 767 or 112

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