How to Prevent and Curb New Cases of Cholera

“A recent alert by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has become the wake-up call for Nigerians to take prompt measures to prevent more citizens from coming down with cholera infection caused by a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. Going by the Situation Report the NCDC issued on June 21, in the last one month, an increasing number of cholera cases have been reported across states, with the infections spreading across seven states of the federation. “The most affected states are Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Zamfara, Bayelsa and Kaduna.”

“The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu who confirmed the development in a statement, said although, the country has reported 10,833 suspected cholera cases in 2021, only 112 cases have been laboratory confirmed while 289 deaths.”

Dr. Japhet Olugbogi

“Nigeria has been recorded in the country so far. A critical look at the number of confirmed cases and deaths could
suggest that cholera deaths in the country this year may not have attained the alarming level, the main challenge is that the infection has the potential to spread more rapidly in both affected states and even extend into new communities and states while sending citizens to untimely death.”

How to Curb Cholera

“The best strategy to curb cholera is to prevent rapid infection of the disease so as to keep the number of new cases down. The deadly effects of cholera disease are the result of a toxin the bacteria produces in the small intestine. The toxin causes the body to secrete enormous amounts of water, leading to diarrhoea and a rapid loss of fluids and salts (electrolytes). It is caused by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.”

“Furthermore, cholera presents as water stool; when someone is having cholera he/she will have several stools and vomit a lot as well. The diarrhoea arising from cholera is frequently described as ‘rice water’ in nature and may have a fishy odour it is characterised by vomiting of clear fluid and stooling. Also, the patient can present with high fever, severe drowsiness, convulsions, weakness and could go into a coma.”

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Dangers of Cholera

“Cholera can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. “Cholera kills faster than HIV/AIDS within weeks and days or hours. “When Cholera infected person stool or vomit severally they become weak and lose minerals in the body which can make them pass away.” Facts from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the cholera bacteria is passed through faeces (poop) and spread by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated by the faeces (poop) of an infected person. This occurs more often in under-developed countries lacking proper water supply and appropriate sewage disposal.”

Nigeria is off-track and a long way from meeting the SDG targets on universal access to water.

Dr. Japhet Olugbogi

“Sadly, the current situation of the limited supply of safe water in Nigeria is a matter of grave concern, considering it could result to a cholera outbreak. Presently, Nigeria is off track and a long way from meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets on universal access to water, said Evelyn Mere, Water Aid Nigeria country director.”

Challenge and Preventive Measure to Curb Cholera

“Most people in the country don’t have access to good water which is limited in the rural communities. “To prevent cholera we should stop open defecation anyhow in the communities.”

“A lot of people choose to defecate in the open; most people particularly in far-to-reach areas don’t use toilets.”
Open defecation is the human practise of defecating outside (‘in the open’) rather than into a toilet. People may choose fields, bushes, forests, ditches, streets to defecate, with dire consequences on health. Data from the WHO shows that as at 2015, around a million people in Nigeria defecate in the open.”

“The practices of not washing foods and other consumables with clean water could result in cholera to the body system. “Mostly water including stream, tap, well, among others, have a high level of contamination, which could result to cholera infection,”

CC: Dr Japhet Olugbogi

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