Cholera: Data Collection Underway, Outbreak Contained In Lagos – Health Commissioner

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has stated that the state government is actively collecting data on the recent cholera outbreak. Speaking to Science Nigeria on Thursday via phone interview from Abuja, Abayomi detailed the ongoing efforts to manage the situation.

Science Nigeria reports a significant increase in severe gastroenteritis cases in Lagos State over the past 72 hours, particularly in Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe. This outbreak has resulted in 60 hospitalisations and five deaths, primarily due to late presentation with extreme dehydration.

Authorities have heightened surveillance and response efforts, investigating a possible water contamination source in the Lekki and Victoria Island areas. There is suspicion of a cholera outbreak, with samples taken for confirmation. Recent rainfall has worsened the situation, especially in urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation.

Cholera, a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease-causing severe diarrhoea, poses a significant health risk in regions with inadequate water treatment and sanitation. While acknowledging the presence of the disease, Abayomi assured the public that measures have been effective in preventing a large-scale outbreak.

“We have successfully contained the situation and prevented it from exploding,” he stated. “An update with detailed information and statistics is expected to be released later today.”

He added that the state continues to monitor the situation closely and is implementing strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. “The public is advised to stay informed and follow recommended health guidelines,” he advised.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) noted that cholera spreads through contaminated food or water and poor sanitation practices, including a lack of handwashing. Symptoms include severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and, sometimes, collapse. Treatment involves oral rehydration salts for mild to moderate dehydration and intravenous fluids for severe cases under medical supervision.

Preventive measures include ensuring safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, avoiding ice from untreated water, maintaining proper sanitation and practicing good hygiene such as regular handwashing with soap and clean water. Citizens are advised to follow food safety guidelines and rely on health authorities for updates and guidance.

Suspected cholera cases should be reported via emergency hotlines 08023169485, 08137412348, or helplines 767 or 112. The Lagos State Ministry of Health is committed to keeping the public informed and ensuring citizens’ health.

As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria had reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states.

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