Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cholera killed Over 80 in 7 States Within 2 Months, Lagos & Plateauw

Cholera killed Over 80 in 7 States Within 2 Months - OVER 100 persons are feared affected and 80 dead from  outbreak of cholera in Lagos, Oyo and six other states, following the outbreak of the disease in different parts of the country in recent times.
Reports from different parts of the country indicated that the disease had been on the rise across the country in the last two months.
Earlier in July, five people had been reported dead after being infected by the disease in Ogun State.
After the incident, it reopened in Oyo, precisely in Egbeda Local Government Area of the state, last month, with eight people reported dead and 12 others hospitalised.

In Plateau State, nine people died of the disease, which also infected 86 others in Namu village, among the over 7,000 refugees who fled to the state from the Ombatse cult onslaught in Nasarawa State.

The disease also infected 536 people and killed 46 in Zamfara State recently.

It had earlier spread to Sokoto State, killing five people out of the nine infected by the disease in Tambuwal Local Government Area in October. The victims were all aged between 27 and 30.

This week, the disease returned to the South-West, specifically in Lagos, as it reportedly killed three people as of Wednesday.

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.

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

He explained that surveillance and investigations carried out by the ministry had revealed that the suspected cases were contracted from food sources such as the African food salad popularly called “abasha” and well water.

He, however, urged members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case, dead or alive, to the nearest health facility and the Directorate of Disease Control in the state Ministry of Health.

Dr Idris said “cholera should be suspected in any person who develops diarrhoea with our without vomiting, weakness, restlessness, irritability, dry mucus membrane, low blood pressure, leg cramps, excessive loss of body fluids (dehydration or  dies from frequent stooling. Hence, adequate measures should be taken in order to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.”

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.

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

Also, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba, on Wednesday, said the state government had embarked on massive awareness campaign on the disease, just as it had evolved an inter-ministerial collaboration involving the ministries of Health, Environment and information and Lagos State Waste Management Agency on the problem.

With a health and environmental status assessment of prone communities said to be ongoing, Mr Ibirogba added that emergency preparedness and response (EPR) committees at local government and state levels had been sensitised on preparedness and response to cholera outbreak.

Also, he said the state government had purchased and distributed to all health centres in local government areas of the state, drugs for the management of the disease.

This was just as the Federal Government, on Thursday, expressed concern over the rising number of deaths arising from the cholera outbreak in Namu village in Qua’pan Local Government Area of Plateau State.

The Deputy Director, Disease and Control, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Moses Anefiong, expressed the concern during a joint assessment tour of the affected area.

“Inasmuch as government is doing all it can to provide potable water for its citizens, people, on their part, should maintain personal hygiene.
“The Ministry of Health is worried that people are still dying of cholera disease today.

“It is more worrisome as the number of causalities and infected persons are on the increase daily.

“As government is making efforts to provide potable water, people should not relegate the issue of personal hygiene to the background.

“All they need to always do is simple hand washing before eating, after going to the toilet, and should also cover their foods against flies.

“Above all, the issue of sanitation must also be taken seriously by the people. These are simple things, but very important,” he said.

Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, speaking through Mr Dan Nwomeh, his special assistant on media and communication, had directed the National Centre for Disease Control to swing into action in state affected by the disease.

While teams had been sent to the affected states to contain the outbreak, the minister said the conditions that often led to the outbreak of cholera were not really within the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Health, but that of the affected states and other federal agencies.

He added, however, that “containing the outbreak is within our mandate and we are, therefore, working with the states and other federal agencies to contain the situation.”

Dr Oladimeji Olayinka, zonal coordinator, South West, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ibadan, who said there was no vaccine that had been developed to work against cholera, added that the agency had sent oral rehydration salts (ORS) to states in the South-West, just as states in the zone had also purchased reasonable quantities of ORS as part of measures to mitigate the problem.

Dr Olayinka said prompt use of oral rehydration solution was important in cholera patients to replace lost body fluids and help the body to fight back before such a person gets treatment at the hospital.

The zonal coordinator, who said the agency had been investigating all reported cases of cholera in the zone, stated that “it is the massive loss of body fluids that kills people, especially in children.

“The germ is a shy one. Once cholera sets in and you rehydrate to keep the person alive, it gets cured within hours.”

Dr Olayinka, however, linked cases of cholera in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to the massive construction works ongoing in the state, which, he said, had left many water pipes damaged, forcing people to depend solely on well water.

According to him, “a study found that most of the shallow wells that people rely on for water are contaminated by water spilling from sanitation tanks.”

He, therefore, urged people to be mindful of their source of water, as well as to treat their water before use.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State government has kicked off campaign against outbreak of  cholera epidemic in the state.

Disclosing this to the Nigerian Tribune in Port Harcourt, on Thursday, the Director of Public Health in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Akuro Okujagu, said a rapid response mechanism had been initiated, through which personnel of the ministry had started reaching out to all communities so as to sensitise them to the outbreak.

According to Okujagu, a sensitisation programme had been set in motion, through the local government outreaches, to enlighten the people.

“Basically, the state government is prepared to forestall any outbreak in the state. We already have a rapid response team assembled. Our Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNO) statewide on LGA levels are set to roll out the sensitisation exercise.

“What we will be telling our people, to the remote parts of the rural areas, is to start taking their hygiene more seriously now, especially when it has to do with their environment and the water they consume.

“We shall also be telling them to report cases of diarrhoea and other related sicknesses so that actions could be taken timely,” Okujagu said.

The Federal Government has, however, presented drugs to victims of cholera epidemic in Zamfara.

Speaking after the presentation, the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Kabiru Janyau, said the drugs would be distributed across the 14 local government areas of the state.

Janyau maintained that since the day the outbreak of the disease was reported, his ministry had ensured the menace was reduced to a considerable proportion.

“The number of people that actually died was 46. It was as a result of the outbreak that the Federal Government deem it necessary to come to our aid,” he said.

Earlier, the state acting governor, Alhaji Sanusi Garba Rikiji, while receiving the drugs, thanked the Federal Government for the gesture, stressing that government would use the items judiciously.
He revealed that the state government was committed to the well-being of its citizens, adding that no stone would be left unturned to ensure that a healthy society was guaranteed.

Items donated were cholera anti-sera laboratory kits, two cartons of latex examination gloves and a carton of ringers’ solution.

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


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