23 August 2009

Nigeria: Cholera Kills 23 in Adamawa

Abuja — No fewer than 23 persons were reported dead following an outbreak of cholera in Maiha, Fufore and Demsa Local Government Areas of Adamawa State.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has alerted state governments, especially in the northern part of the country, to take proactive measures against the spread of the epidemic.

The Director-General of NEMA, AVM Mohammed Audu-Bida (rtd), raised the alarm after receiving a report of deaths from the disease from the North-East Coordinator of NEMA, Mr. Aliyu Sambo.

In a swift response to the epidemic, the agency said it has contacted federal and state ministries of health to mobilise emergency medical assistance to the affected communities so as to avoid the spread to neighbouring communities.

According to Bida, state governments, especially in the north, should adopt sensitive surveillance and promptly report any case to relevant institutions in order to contain the spread of the disease, especially as Muslims observe the Ramadan fasting.

LEADERSHIP gathered that in Maiha Local Government, nine people have been reported dead, with 69 people affected. In Fufore Local Government, four people died, while 10 people died from the disease. In Demsa Local Government, 14 persons died while there are over 102 cases of the endemic.

A statement issued by Malam Yushau A. Shuaib, NEMA's Head of Press and Public Relations, stated that some parts of the country have been faced with the threat of the epidemic, especially during the rainy period.

"The disease exists annually as a seasonal epidemic in some countries, mostly during rainy season. It is important for all states to be on alert and embark on surveillance for early detection and response.

In doing this, necessary medical facilities should be mobilised and readied for deployment on short notice.

"Public enlightenment on the threat of the epidemic and, indeed, other diseases should also be carried out at the grassroots, with special focus on the prevention, identification and response.

"Cholera is an infectious disease that affects the digestive system and causes abnormal watery visits to the toilet and vomiting. It is a contagious disease that is usually spread through unhealthy environment, with the causal organism easily transported from one infected person to another.

"The epidemic is preventable through cleanliness when environments are properly kept and food hygienically prepared and taken. But under the present circumstance, affected communities are strongly advised to report any suspected case of the disease for early diagnosis and treatment as health officials have been mobilised for that purpose".

The NEMA Zonal Coordinator in the North-East, Mr. Aliyu Sambo, said Adamawa State was containing the spread while the agency was mounting surveillance in neighbouring states.

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