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15 dead as Lagos confirms outbreak of severe cholera

Professor Akin Abayomi Lagos commissioner of health

Professor Akin Abayomi Lagos Commissioner for Health

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos State Government on Sunday announced outbreak of severe cholera which has led to the death of 15 people in the state so far in few days.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health disclosed that 350 suspected cases had been reported with 17 confirmed to be cholera and 15 fatalities so far.

According to him, following the initial alert and advisory issued by the Lagos State Ministry of Health on the cholera outbreak, the Lagos State Government has activated its Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) at Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

He said the PHEOC was convened to address the increasing number of severe gastroenteritis cases across multiple Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Lagos State.

“The laboratory investigation and test results have so far confirmed Cholera sub type O-1. This subtype is associated with more severe disease. The pattern of new cases per day varies across LGAs, according to our ongoing surveillance and monitoring updates.

“Although this is an increase from the numbers published 3 days ago, cases are now dramatically subsiding in previously affected LGAs due to our interventions and surveillance efforts, however we are recording some new cases in previously unaffected LGAs, signalling the need for residents to adhere strictly to precautionary, personal, and environmental hygiene measures,” the Commissioner said.

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He added that “The Directorate of Environmental Health of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency of the Ministry of Environment, have collected samples of water sources, food and beverage samples in all the affected LGAs, while inspections of facilities are ongoing.

“We are prepositioning cholera kits in health facilities across the State. Our efforts to control the outbreak also include the distribution of Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS), public health education campaigns.”

Abayomi noted that a Lagos State Government Ministry of Health high-level team just concluded a meeting with the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Jide Idris, and his team as well as key partners from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure all interventions were optimized.

Abayomi urged residents to support the state government’s efforts by adhering strictly to precautionary measures, cooperating with health authorities, and participating in community-wide sanitation activities to mitigate the spread of cholera, particularly as the Eid-al-Adha celebration approaches.

“During this Ileya festive season, residents are advised to drink safe water, cook food thoroughly, maintain personal hygiene, wash hands regularly, use sanitiser, and avoid over crowded places. Reporting symptoms like watery diarrhea or vomiting immediately is also crucial, to save lives and prevent transmission to other members of community. Treatment for suspected cholera is provided free of charge at all government facilities as part of governments standard public health response,” he said.

While acknowledging the leadership role being played by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, towards mitigating the outbreak, the Commissioner applauded the technical support being provided by national and international organizations, including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF towards the response.

“The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Health with support from our partners, is intensifying efforts to control the outbreak. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide regular updates. Residents are advised to stay informed and adhere to public health advisories to ensure their safety and well-being during this period,” the Commissioner said.

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