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Cholera outbreak: Symptoms, prevention, other information


The Lagos state government, through the Commissioner of Health, recently announced the outbreak of cholera that has led to the death of five persons and hospitalization of about sixty persons in Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has warned the public of the increasing trend of cholera cases across the country as the rainy season intensifies.

According to the agency, a total of 1,141 suspected and 65 confirmed cases of cholera, with 30 deaths, had been reported from 96 local government areas in 30 states from January 1 to June 11, 2024.

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What does this mean?

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

It spreads through direct transmission through eating or drinking contaminated food or water and indirect transmission through poor sanitation and lack of handwashing.

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The following symptoms signify cholera disease in a person:

1. Severe watery diarrhoea
2. Vomiting
3. Rapid dehydration
4. Muscle cramps
5. Fever and potential collapse

There are also preventive ways to avoid contracting the disease.

1. Don’t eat raw or undercooked seafood.

2. Drink water only if it’s bottled, canned, boiled, or treated with certain chemicals. Don’t drink out of a bottle or can with a broken seal.

3. Make sure your foods are freshly cooked and served hot.

4. Consider disinfecting your water: Boil it for at least one minute. Add half an iodine tablet or two drops of household bleach to each litre of water. Or use chlorine tablets.

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5. Wash fruits and vegetables with clean water.

6. Wash your hands with soap and clean water, especially before handling and eating food and after using the bathroom. If clean water and soap aren’t available, use hand sanitiser made of at least 60% alcohol.

If you or anyone around you have the above-listed symptoms, kindly visit the nearest hospital.