6 people have been reportedly killed by a cholera outbreak in Lagos.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, disclosed this on Thursday during a press conference.
Idris informed the public on the out break of cholera in Isolo area of Lagos.
Idris enlightened the public on cholera, saying it is an acute contagious bacterial disease that is characterised by severe form of sudden onset of profuse painless watery stools, nausea and profuse vomiting.
He noted that cholera is acquired through the ingestion of an infective dose of contaminated food or water and can be transmitted through many mechanisms like direct or indirect contamination of water or food by feaces of infected individuals.
“In developing countries like ours, cholera is either endemic or a recurring problem because conditions leading to epidemics exist including presence of peri-urban slums and lack of basic infrastructure. Outbreak of cholera can also occur on seasonal basis in endemic areas”, Idris explained.
The Commissioner listed the main symptoms of cholera to include profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity, dry mucous membranes, low blood pressure, thirst, muscle cramps, restlessness and irritability.
He urged members of the public to report any cases of severe dehydration or death from acute watery diarrhea with or without vomiting to the nearest health center or government hospital just as he advised them undertake precautionary measures such as washing of hands with soap and water as often as possible, disposing of human feaces safely, maintaining cleanliness in food preparation and handling with particular attention to foods served cold and uncooked like salads and fruits and avoiding raw fruits and vegetables other than those peeled and prepared by oneself.
“People should avoid possible backflow connection between water and sewer system and if you are not sure of the source of your water, make sure you boil before drinking. Mothers should also continue to breastfeed their babies having watery diarrhea and if you have been in contact with a cholera patient, wash your hands thoroughly after touching any item or surface that may have been contaminated and also dispose of contaminated items properly,” he said.
Idris noted government has already evolved an inter-ministerial collaboration involving the Ministries of Health, Environment and Information, Lagos State Waste Management Authority and Lagos State Water Corporation adding that health and environmental status assessment of prone communities is on-going.
According to him, emergency preparedness and response (EPR) committees at local government and state levels have been sensitized on preparedness and response to cholera outbreak adding that government has also purchased and distributed to all health centers in local government areas of the state drugs for the management of the disease.
“Healthcare workers in both public and private hospitals are also being sensitized on surveillance and management of cholera, fact sheet and information, enlightenment and communication materials on cholera have been distributed to all health workers in public hospitals while health education and public enlightenment on personal and environmental hygiene in epidemic prone communities have also been intensified”, the Commissioner noted.
While urging members of the public to report any case of suspected cholera to the nearest health facility, Idris stated that government has designated Mainland General Hospital as the referral facility for severe cholera cases.