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Lagos Faces Cholera Outbreak: 5 Dead, 60 Hospitalized

An alarming outbreak of cholera has claimed five lives and resulted in the hospitalization of 60 people across several local government areas in Lagos State, including Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe.

 The outbreak, characterized by severe gastroenteritis, has prompted urgent public health measures and heightened surveillance by state authorities.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, announced these developments in response to the latest surveillance reports. 

He emphasized the need for increased vigilance and the adoption of precautionary measures to curb the potential spread of cholera.

Professor Abayomi lamented the deaths, which he attributed primarily to extreme dehydration in patients who sought medical help too late.

 “We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. 

The Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis. 

We suspect a potential cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. 

As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states,” he stated.

The Commissioner highlighted the surge in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, particularly in urban slums and densely populated areas with inadequate sanitation, following recent heavy rains. 

He explained that cholera, a highly contagious disease, spreads through contaminated food and water and can be life-threatening if not promptly treated.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of hand washing. 

Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever, and sometimes collapse,” he explained.

For those affected, treatment involves rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration. 

Severely dehydrated patients require intravenous fluids, administered under medical supervision.

To prevent further spread, Professor Abayomi urged citizens to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice made from untreated water.

 He stressed the importance of proper sanitation, including the use of toilets, safe disposal of feces, and avoiding open defecation. 

Maintaining good hygiene, such as regular hand washing with soap and clean water, is also crucial.

“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential and following food safety guidelines,” he advised.

He called on the public to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management of cholera. 

Suspected cases can be reported via emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or through helplines 767 or 112.

In his concluding remarks, Professor Abayomi reiterated the importance of maintaining high standards of hygiene and taking proactive measures to prevent further outbreaks.

 He reassured the public of the government’s commitment under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to safeguard the health and well-being of all residents.

“We urge everyone to adopt these preventive measures and report any suspected cases promptly to safeguard our communities,” he urged.

 

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