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Five dead, 60 hospitalised as Cholera outbreak hits Lagos

Professor Akin Abayomi Lagos commissioner of health

Professor Akin Abayomi Lagos Commissioner for Health

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Five people have died and 60 others hospitalised as deadly Cholera outbreak hits Lagos, with the state government calling for heightened vigilance and adoption of precautionary measures.

The government in a statement on Tuesday urged the need to ensure that the disease is not spread, saying that an excess of severe gastroenteritis cases had been reported in Lagos in the last 48 hours.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi disclosed that cases of severe gastroenteritis had been reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe LGA, resulting in about 60 hospital admissions, and sadly five deaths had been recorded mainly from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.

“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis.

“We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states,” he said.

The Commissioner noted that following recent rains, Lagos State has seen a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation were particularly at risk.

Abayomi explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that caused severe diarrhea and could be life-threatening, adding that it posed a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation, and could impact Lagos State.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and sometimes collapse,” he said.

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According to him, treatment options for cholera include rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration, saying that intravenous fluids is used for severely dehydrated patients given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel.

“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation crucial.

“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential and following food safety guidelines,” the Commissioner advised.

He enjoined citizens to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management.

He added that suspected cases could be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

While emphasizing the importance of maintaining high standards of hygiene and taking proactive measures to prevent cholera outbreaks, Abayomi promised to keep the public informed and restated the commitment of the Government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens.

“We urge everyone to adopt these preventive measures and report any suspected cases promptly to safeguard our communities,” he stated.

 

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