Cholera: NCDC Urges State Govts to Ensure Access to Safe Water, Basic Sanitation

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State Governments have been urged by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) to prioritise actions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation, and proper hygiene practices in communities.

The call is contained in a comprehensive advisory released to the public, healthcare workers, and state governments on mitigating the spread of cholera.

The centre reported a total of 1,141 suspected cases of cholera, with 65 confirmed cases and 30 deaths across 96 local government areas (LGAs) in 30 states from Jan. 1 to June 11.

The NCDC highlighted that 10 states—Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa and Lagos—account for 90 per cent of the cholera burden in the country.

The centre explained that cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by Vibrio cholerae, ingested through contaminated water and food.

Water contamination usually results from the faeces of infected individuals, occurring during water collection, transportation, or storage at home. Food can also be contaminated by unclean hands during preparation or consumption.

At-risk populations, the centre said, include those with limited access to clean water, poor sanitation and hygiene, consumers of potentially contaminated food or fruits without proper washing and cooking, and healthcare workers providing direct patient care without standard precautions.

The centre noted that symptoms of cholera include acute, profuse, painless watery diarrhoea (rice water stools), sudden onset vomiting, and may be accompanied by nausea and fever.

Severe cases can lead to death within hours due to dehydration from massive fluid loss.

However, NCDC stressed that most infected individuals (about 80%) may show mild symptoms or be asymptomatic.

NCDC cautioned that the best prevention against cholera includes ensuring access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and waste disposal, and adopting appropriate hygiene practices, including regular handwashing.

It advised avoiding raw fruits and vegetables, food from street vendors, and raw or undercooked seafood.

“Protect cooked food and boiled water from contamination by flies and unsanitary handling.

“Leftover food should be reheated thoroughly before consumption,” he said.

The agency said that persons experiencing diarrhoea should avoid preparing or serving food or hauling water for others to prevent the spread of infection.

“ Avoid open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of refuse. Proper disposal of waste and regular clearing of sewage are essential.

“Anyone experiencing sudden watery diarrhoea should seek immediate medical attention and refrain from self-medication,” he said.

It said that Nigerians should always practice standard safety precautions, such as wearing gloves when handling patients or providing care to ill individuals.

The public health agency said that people should Intensify efforts to promptly report suspected cholera cases to facilitate timely intervention.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that according to the World Health Organisation(WHO), cholera is a food and water-borne disease, caused by the ingestion of the organism Vibrio Cholerae in contaminated water and food.

NAN

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