Lagos: Cholera kills six as diarrhoea ravages community

Six people have died of choera in Lagos while 45 cases have line-listed by the Epidemiology Unit of the Lagos State Ministry of Health.

The ministry has also raised the alarm over upsurge of diarhoea diseases in some communities in Isolo Local Council Development Authority (LCDA).

Briefing the media, yesterday, Health Commissioner, Dr Jide Idris said ano-rectal swabs, which were collected from 15 cases and taken to the Central Public Health Laboratory, Yaba showed that, initially, there were no growths.

However, continuous culture yielded Vibro cholerae from seven, out of the 15 samples. The Vibrio cholera was later confirmed to be Ogawa strain, Idris said.

The commissioner said the suspected source of infection is the salad called Abacha, a staple food common with residents of Isolo LCDA and adjourning local councils and LCDAs.

The commissioner gave further information. “Twenty six cases were managed at Isolo General Hospital and Lagos Mainland Hospital. Twenty two have been discharged, one has died while three are still on admission at Lagos Mainland Hospital. All the three cases still on admission are in stable condition.

“Seventeen of the cases were managed at private health facilities and three, of the 17 cases, died. All the 14 cases on admission have been discharged.”

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Also suspected were sources of water from some domestic wells within the communities. Samples of the local salad and well water were collected and sent to the Lagos State Drug Quality Control Laboratory for analysis.

The analysis report indicated the presence of Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella species and E.coli in Abacha and one of the two well water samples.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoea disease with or without vomiting caused by a bacteria referred to as Vibro cholerae and it is transmitted through ingestion of food or water contaminated with infective faeces. Food or water contamination is usually due to poor sanitation and the source of contamination is usually other cholera cases when their infective watery stool gets into food or drinking water supplies.

Prevention of cholera can be achieved through basic water sanitation, such as boiling water of unclean sources.  Cholera can kill within hours, if left untreated.

About 75 per cent of people infected with V. cholera do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their faeces for seven to 14 days after infection and are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people.

Cholera presents clinically as nausea, profuse diarrhoea, vomiting (in early stages of illness), fever and leg cramp. Later, presentation is dehydration, shock or coma.

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The risk of contracting cholera is increased mainly by poor water and environmental sanitation, including open defecation.

Other prevention and control measures instituted by the state government, according to Idris include identifying the three vendors of contaminated Abacha; ban on sale and caution in eating the local delicacy when it is not personally prepared by you and distribution of factsheets on cholera to the management of LASUTH and the 26 general Hospitals in the state.

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