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Nigeria records 53 deaths as govt warns against unhygienic drinks

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Nigeria has recorded 53 deaths and 1,528 suspected cases of cholera across 107 local government areas (LGAs) in 31 states as of Monday.

The fatalities represent a case fatality rate of 3.5 per cent since the beginning of 2024, according to the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Jide Idris.

Mr Idris gave the updates at a press briefing on Monday in Abuja. He also announced the activation of the National Cholera Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate a robust response to the outbreak.

He noted that experts who conducted a risk assessment last week placed Nigeria at high risk of increased cholera transmission and impact.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Environment, Iziaq Salako in a statement on Monday, also advised Nigerians to avoid locally made drinks like kunu, zobo, and fura to prevent the spread of cholera disease.

“Avoid locally prepared drinks like kunu, zobo, fura da nono, koko, and fruit juice among others except it is certain that the preparation was done hygienically and safely,” Mr Salako said.

“Wash hands regularly with soap under running water, especially after using the toilet, cleaning a child who has gone to the toilet, before preparing food, before and after eating, and after playing with animals.”

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Cases rise, as Lagos investigates cause

In Lagos State, the death toll from cholera has increased to 29, with 30 other patients hospitalised, the state’s Health Commissioner, Akin Abayomi also revealed on Monday during a press briefing.

Mr Abayomi noted that 579 suspected cases have been recorded with 43 confirmed through laboratory analysis, just as he attributed the increasing death rate to late presentation in the hospital.

“Most of these deaths were caused by patients presenting very late at a stage where we could not resuscitate them because they had severe rehydration and many patients were brought in dead,” he said.

Nearly two weeks after the disease outbreak, the state authority is yet to ascertain the specific source that caused the sudden spike in cases across the state.

“So far, we have not been able to identify a source, but investigations are continuing because we want to see if we can identify a particular source or sources,” Mr Abayomi said.

“But moving forward, we are going to keep active surveillance around our water sources and the distribution of beverages in Lagos State,” Abayomi said while giving an update on the disease.”

He noted that cases of severe gastroenteritis have been reported in communities around Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.

Also, in Ogun State, the Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker, disclosed that the state has recorded one death and 25 suspected cholera cases across seven LGAs: Adoodo/Ota, Remo North, Odeda, Sagamu, Ijebu North, Ewekoro, and Obafemi Owode.

READ ALSO: Lagos clarifies claim on cause of cholera outbreak

Nigeria’s effort

Speaking further during the press briefing, the NCDC DG explained that the activated EOC will be the central hub for coordinating and directing the country’s response to the cholera outbreak.

“Supporting affected states, facilitating rapid communication, data analysis, and decision-making processes, mobilising resources, expertise, and support from partners and stakeholders at all levels of government.

“An Incident Manager has been appointed to oversee the day-to-day activities of the EOC, which will focus on surveillance, case management, oral cholera vaccine distribution, coordination, infection prevention and control, logistics, support, and research,” he said.

Mr Idris noted that before the activation of the EOC, the NCDC had prepositioned medical supplies, provided onsite support to affected states, conducted training for laboratory scientists and community mobilisers, and distributed public awareness materials.

He said the agency provided offsite and onsite support to states (Lagos and Ogun) and followed up for daily reporting and progress with response activities.

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