Three persons have been confirmed dead as cholera outbreak hit Lagos. The Lagos State Government in a prompt response has moved to stop the spread of the disease.
At an emergency news conference at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Wednesday, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris confirmed that 13 cases of cholera infection had been reported and that three persons have died so far while some had been treated and discharged from the hospital.
Idris explained that investigations carried out by the ministry had revealed that the suspected cases recorded were contracted from food sources such as the African food salad popularly called ‘Abasha’, well-water sources, especially in areas like Ikare community, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government area and Badia area of Apapa Local Government area, and other infected foods from food sellers, and other unhygienic habits.
Other suspected areas are Ajeromi, Lagos Island, Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere Local Government. He urged members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility and the Directorate of Disease Control in the state Ministry of Health.
Idris described cholera as an acute contagious bacterial disease that is characterized by severe form of sudden onset of profuse painless watery stools, nausea and profuse vomiting.
He added that cholera is acquired through the ingestion of an infective dose of contaminated food or water and could be transmitted through many mechanisms like direct or indirect contamination of water or food by faeces of infected individuals.
“Cholera should be suspected in any person who develops diarrhoea with or without vomiting, weakness, restlessness, irritability, dry mucous 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,” he stated.
The commissioner listed measures to be taken to reduce the risk of contracting the disease as washing of hands with soaps and water frequently and thoroughly; boiling of water before drinking if the source of the water was in doubts; washing of fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating; cooking of food thoroughly before eating; disposing of waste material properly; and keeping of water containers clean.
Idris pointed out that in the case of suspected cholera, members of the public should prepare oral rehydration solution (10 level teaspoonful of sugar and one level teaspoonful of salt in two 35cl bottles); give the suspect a lot of fluids to drink; keeps giving the suspect food as soon as it could be tolerated; and thereafter visit the nearest hospital whether the condition of the suspect improves or not.
He urged health workers to be on the alert and report suspected outbreak of more than five cases in their facilities to the State Ministry of Health, saying that people could also call the following numbers: 08023169485 or 0802321333 for assistance.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
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