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Lagos Cholera Death Toll Hits 35, 401 Suspected Cases As Unregistered Tiger Nut Drinks Implicated As Cause

The Lagos State Government has attributed the cholera outbreak to unregistered tiger nut drinks as fatalities rise to 35.

The Lagos State Government has said the number of fatalities from the cholera outbreak in the state has risen to 35 from the initial 15 fatalities and 401 suspected cases.

While the state government has attributed the outbreak of the disease in the state to unregistered tiger nut drinks, just as Oyo, Ogun and Kano State governments have rolled out measures against cholera outbreak in the states.

Cholera is a highly contagious food and water-borne disease. It 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 acute, painless, watery diarrhoea of sudden onset, with or without vomiting. It may be associated with nausea, profuse vomiting and fever.

At the last count, the state government said Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa recorded the highest numbers.

But in the latest update in his Instagram handle on Saturday, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the number of confirmed cases in the nation’s commercial capital was 417.

“As of June 20, 2024, an additional six suspected cholera cases have been reported, as illustrated in the accompanying graphs.

“The situation report indicates 417 suspected cases, 35 confirmed cases, and 24 recorded deaths. The graphs depict the distribution of cases among the 20 LGAs in the state.

Meanwhile, the state government has attributed the outbreak of the disease in the state to unregistered tiger nut drinks.

The Special Adviser to the state governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, said upon noticing a rise in suspected cholera cases in Eti-Osa LGA, the government conducted a direct assessment of the area.

Ogunyemi revealed that a survey indicated a common factor was a tiger nut drink being sold while noting it was not registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

She mentioned that authorities were then sent out to locate the drink to test samples for cholera.

Her words: “We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables.

“There was a phone number and a name on the bottle, and we started tracing. We did contact tracing, similar to what we did with COVID-19.

“We combed the area to ask people where they got the drinks from. We couldn’t find any full bottles. We only found empty ones, which were of no use because we could not test them. The phone number on the bottle was not reachable,” she explained.

Cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by ingesting the bacteria— Vibrio cholerae — in contaminated water and food.

Cholera can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea, and the severe forms of the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

In Nigeria, cholera is an endemic and seasonal disease, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and more frequently in areas with poor sanitation.

Meanwhile, Oyo, Ogun and Kano state governments have rolled out measures against the outbreak in the states.

In Oyo State, the government said it had implemented measures to prevent cholera outbreaks in public basic schools, advising head teachers to ensure that food handlers follow strict hygiene practices to prevent contamination.

The state Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Nureni Adeniran, handed down the instruction on Saturday in Ibadan.

He said the state government, through the Board, is on top of its game to ensure public basic schools are taking steps to ensure the health and safety of students.

Adeniran urged parents, guardians, and school authorities to adhere to safety guidelines.

In Kano, the state government advised residents against drinking rainwater to prevent the spread of cholera as the rainy season has set in.

A statement by the Head of the Public Relations Unit, Ministry of Health, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the advice was necessary because usually, the rainy season comes up with cholera complications which some states in the country have already fallen victim to.

The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Abubakar Yusuf also urged people to always wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly with clean water before consumption because they were mostly purchased from the markets with little cleanliness.

Also, the Ogun State government has confirmed the outbreak of the disease which has claimed one life, and five persons hospitalised.

It has directed school heads to ensure good health and safety of all learners and staff to prevent the spread of cholera within the school communities.

Segun James

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