Nigeria is suffering a growing cholera outbreak, NCDC alerts Nigerians

Dr Jide Idris, the Director–General of NCDC, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Cholera is a deadly disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, associated with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water.

It has also been found in seemingly clean places, including affluent neighbourhoods, hotels and restaurants with poor hygiene practices among others. Idris said that recent reports of an increase in cholera cases in some states prompted the agency to alert state authorities and citizens to take immediate precautions.

“The contamination typically happens due to inadequate sanitation and poor infrastructure, which allow sewage to infiltrate drinking water systems,” he said.

The NCDC boss advised states to ensure proper treatment of water before consumption.

“Boiling water and using water purification tablets can significantly reduce the risk of infection,” he stated.

He said that the centre will continue to monitor the situation closely, and is collaborating with state governments to implement measures to control the spread of the disease.

“Public awareness campaigns are also underway to educate people on the importance of safe water practices and hygiene.

“Cholera is a highly infectious disease that can cause severe dehydration and even death if not treated promptly.

“Symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting and muscle cramps. Early detection and treatment are crucial in managing the disease and preventing fatalities,” he added.

Idris said that as the rainy season approaches, there was a need for heightened vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard public health. He stressed the importance of community efforts in maintaining clean water supplies and proper waste management to combat the spread of cholera.

He said that between January 1 to June 11, 1,141 suspected and 65 confirmed cases of cholera with 30 deaths were reported in 96 Local Government Areas in 30 States.

Idris said Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa and the Lagos States, contribute 90% to the burden of cholera in the country. He said that the multi-sectoral National Cholera Technical Working Group, led by the NCDC and other partners have been providing support to the affected states.

He said that this support includes risk communication, active case search, laboratory diagnosis, case management, and provision of response among others. NAN reports that Cholera outbreaks have affected 18 countries in Africa over the last two years.

In southern and eastern Africa, more than 6,000 people have died and nearly 350,000 cases have been reported since a series of outbreaks began in late 2021.

According to the centre, cholera can occur when sewage mixes with drinking water supplies leading to severe health risks. Prevention relies on safe water, sanitation, hygiene, and the use of oral cholera vaccines. In 2017, a global strategy aimed to reduce cholera deaths by 90% by 2030 was launched.

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