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NCDC Raises Alarm over Rising Cases of Cholera in Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has raised alarm over suspected rising cases of cholera in Nigeria.

This disclosure was made by the NCDC Director-General, Mr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Tuesday in Abuja, while giving updates about the disease.

According to him, the national multi-agency cholera Technical Working Group (TWG) at the agency is monitoring the situation in eight states, where there are reports of suspected cholera cases.

Dr Ihekweazu said as at March, Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe State, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto State and Nasarawa State have reported suspected cholera cases.

Cholera is an endemic and seasonal disease, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and more often in areas with poor sanitation, overcrowding, lack of clean food and water, and areas where open defecation is common practice.

”As of March 28, a total of 1,746 suspected cases including 50 deaths with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) that is 2.9 per cent have been reported from Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto and Nasarawa.

”Of the confirmed cases, 63.2 per cent were aged five to 14 years.

”Also of the suspected cases, 48 per cent were females and 52 per cent were males,” he said.

The director-general said that there has been a gradual increase in the number of new cases in the last two weeks.

”Zamfara accounts for about 100 per cent of cases reported in the last two weeks.

“A total of 75 samples were collected out of which 49 tested positive.

”The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) for laboratory confirmation by culture is 14.7 per cent,” he said.

“Most people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their faeces for 1-10 days after infection and are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people.

“Among people who develop symptoms, the majority have mild or moderate symptoms, while a minority develop acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. This can lead to death if left untreated,” he explained.

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