Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: 8 Killed, 61 Hospitalised in Plateau Cholera Outbreak

Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN
A man washes his hands during cholera prevention session

Jos — Medical authorities in Plateau have confirmed an outbreak of cholera in Namu village in the Qua'pan Local Government Area of the state.

Namu, a village at the Plateau and Nasarawa States border, hosts displaced people in the violent crisis that broke out in the Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

"Yes, there has been an outbreak of cholera in Namu village, eight people have been killed while 61 others have been hospitalised," the Plateau State Epidemiologist, Dr Raymond Yuryit, said in Namu on Sunday.

Yuryit spoke when he received Alhaji Alhassan Barde, the Executive Secretary of the Plateau State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), who had gone to assess the situation. He said that those hospitalised had been diagnosed with the disease and had been admitted into various health centres.

Juryit attributed the outbreak to overcrowding, dirty environment and the consumption of unhygienic food and water.

He described cholera as a "deadly disease" that could kill "within the shortest possible time because its dehydrates the victim, leading to severe gastro-intestinal impact".

The medical expert explained further that the Namu victims suffered chronic diarrhoea and vomiting, saying that many had been hit by the disease before government intervened.

The specialist said that the epidemic was not altogether a surprise as the area had lots of internally displaced persons from Nasarawa State, a development that had put much pressure on the environment and portable drinking water.

"But we are happy that the situation is already under control," he said.

The epidemiologist explained that he had advised health workers in private and government health centres on ways to avert a recurrence of the ailment and also on how to quickly manage the situation if it arose.

He thanked the Plateau and Nasarawa States Governments for their quick response to the report, lauding the SEMAs for their massive support.

He called on government at all levels to ensure that the monthly sanitation exercise was taken seriously, especially in rural areas, to ensure good hygiene for rural dwellers.

Juryit also appealed to government to provide portable water to rural dwellers, pointing out that dirty water was the main cause of the epidemic.

He called on people in the area to promptly report any case of diarrhoea or vomiting to the nearest health centre, saying that quick action could minimise casualty rates.

Barde, in his remarks, said that the quick intervention by the agency was part of its statutory mandate, promising to continue to offer quick assistance to areas in need.

The SEMA chief said that the agency intervened to avert the possibility of the disease spreading to other parts of the state, calling on relevant agencies to assist in the management of disaster cases.

He thanked the Nasarawa Government for donating drugs that would be distributed to various health centres. (NAN)

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InFocus

Nigeria to Probe Cholera Outbreak in Plateau State

A man washes his hands during cholera prevention session

The Federal Ministry of Health is set to begin investigations into the suspected outbreak of cholera in Plateau State. Read more »