The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has activated a multi-sectoral National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), following an increase in cholera cases across the country.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
NAN reports that since the beginning of the 2021, 10,833 suspected cholera cases have been reported with 112 confirmed cases and 289 deaths.
In the last one month, an increasing number of cholera cases has been reported across the states.
The most affected states are Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Zamfara, Bayelsa and Kaduna.
Given the risk of large outbreaks across states, Ihekweazu said that the agency had activated an EOC.
“The EOC is co-led with the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, given the link between cholera and water, sanitation and hygiene.
“The National EOC has been supporting states to ensure a coordinated, rapid and effective response to the ongoing outbreak.
“This includes the deployment of National Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to support the response at state level, provision of medical and laboratory supplies, scale up of risk communications amongst other activities,” he explained.
Besides, the NCDC boss said that the resources that have been developed as part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response were being used to strengthen the response to the cholera outbreak.
“This includes the digitalisation of the national surveillance system, establishment of laboratories and treatment centres and training of health workers, among others,” he added.
According to him, cholera is a preventable and treatable epidemic – prone disease which is transmitted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
The number of cholera cases tends to increase with the onset of the rainy season.
He noted that the risk of death from cholera was higher, when treatment is delayed.
He stressed that it was very important to visit a health facility if any one have symptoms such as watery diarrhoea and vomiting.
Ihekweazu, therefore, urged Nigerians to be aware of the risk of the disease and adhere to the following precautionary measures to ensure safety;
“Boil and store water in a clean and safe container before drinking. Prepare, cook and store food safely.
“Wash hands frequently with soap under clean running water to prevent infectious diseases including cholera. This is especially important after defecation and before handling food or eating.
“Avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping which contribute to the spread of cholera.
“Visit a health facility immediately if you have symptoms such as watery diarrhoea,” he advised.
He, however, said that healthcare workers should have a high index of suspicion for cholera and maintain universal care precautions at all times.
The NCDC boss said that the agency would continue to advocate for improved access to clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene.
He noted that this was a critical measure to prevent cholera cases and outbreaks.
Ihekweazu also called on state governments to continue to provide access to clean water for citizens. (NAN)