KANO – A cholera outbreak in northern Nigeria has killed at least 20 people in the past two weeks, with more than 300 hospitalized for the disease, a health official said Tuesday.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, suffers from high rates of water-borne diseases due to decrepit infrastructure and underinvestment.
The most recent outbreak in Bauchi state was reported in nine districts, with the state capital, Bauchi, being the worst hit, state health commissioner Mohammed Maigoro told reporters.
“So far, we have recorded 20 deaths and 322 cases from the cholera outbreak in nine local government areas in the past two weeks,” Maigoro said.
“The Bauchi metropolis was hit hardest, accounting for half of the deaths and 147 of the 322 reported cases.”
Maigoro said cases are on the rise and the government has asked all 20 districts in the state to activate their emergency teams and open quarantine centers for cholera.
Health workers and medicines were sent to the affected areas while public awareness campaigns on water and personal hygiene intensified, he said.
Cholera is a water-borne bacterial infection that affects the intestines and is characterized by vomiting, watery stools, dehydration, and fatigue.
It can be transmitted by flies when they come in contact with food and can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner.
Eight states in Nigeria have reported suspected cholera cases this year, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC): Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto and Nasarawa.
As of January, a total of 1,746 suspected cases including 50 deaths have been reported in these states, with more than half of the confirmed cases involving children between the ages of 5 and 14.
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