Lagos Records Five Deaths, 60 Hospital Admissions From Cholera Outbreak

A devastating Cholera epidemic has killed five people and hospitalised 60 in Lagos, prompting the state administration to increase attention and implement preventive measures.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the administration emphasised the importance of preventing the spread of the disease, citing an increase in acute gastroenteritis cases reported in Lagos in the previous 48 hours.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, disclosed that cases of severe gastroenteritis had been reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe LGA, resulting in approximately 60 hospital admissions and five deaths, primarily from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.

“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health 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 possible 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 said.

The Commissioner stated that following recent rains, Lagos State has experienced a significant increase in cases of acute vomiting and watery stools, emphasising that urban slums and crowded regions with poor sanitation were particularly vulnerable.

Abayomi noted that cholera is a highly contagious disease that causes severe diarrhoea and can be fatal, adding that it poses a huge health burden in regions with poor water treatment and sanitation, potentially affecting Lagos State.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and sometimes collapse,” he said.

According to him, therapeutic options for cholera include rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration, as well as intravenous fluids for critically dehydrated patients administered only in medical institutions and overseen by medical staff.

“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation 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,” the Commissioner advised.

He urged citizens to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for information on prevention, treatment, and management.

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He added that suspected cases could be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

Reiterating the government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to safeguarding the health and welfare of its people, Abayomi pledged to keep the public informed and emphasised the significance of upholding strict hygiene standards and taking preventative action to stop cholera outbreaks.

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