Cholera Hits 7 States, 80 Dead

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An outbreak of cholera, a disease that causes unrestrained stooling and vomitting, has hit Lagos and six other states in Nigeria, killing up to 80 citizens of the country in recent times.

The Government of Lagos State, western Nigeria, yesterday said it had recorded about 15 cases out of which three residents of the state had died of the disease.

Weeks ago, nine people died of the disease, which also infected 100 people in Namu Village in Plateau state, north-central Nigeria.

The disease killed 50 people in the northwestern state of Zamfara recently while eight deaths were recorded and 10 others hospitalised from the infection in Oyo state last month.

In Sokoto state five people died out of the nine people infected by the disease in Tambuwal Local Government Area this month. They were all aged between 27 and 30.

In July this year, five people were reported dead after being infected by the disease in Ogun state, western Nigeria.

At an emergency news conference at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, confirmed the deaths, saying the areas mostly affected are Ikate community, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, Badia area of Apapa Local Government, Ajeromi, Lagos Island, Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere local government areas.

Idris  urged people to prepare oral rehydration solution (10 level teaspoonful of sugar and one level teaspoonful of salt in two 35cl bottles) and administer to anyone suspected of being infected before the person is rushed to the hospital.

Cholera, a highly contagious intestinal infection, is reportedly transmitted by water and food soiled by human waste. The disease leads to diarrhoea, dehydration and death if untreated.

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The Commissioner gave phone lines: 08023169485 or 0802321333 as the numbers to call for assistance should any resident suspect a case of cholera anywhere.

Agency reports claim Nigeria often suffers cholera epidemics during the rainy season, mentioning incidents of 2010 and 2011 in which over 2,000 people were killed.

How To Prevent Cholera

•Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water.

•Drink only water that you know is boiled or treated.

•Eat foods and vegetables, which are cooked thoroughly and still hot.

•Eat only fruit you peeled yourself. Avoid raw, uncooked salads and any food that has been washed with untreated water.

•Stay away from raw or undercooked fish or seafood.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga & Eromosele Ebhomele