Lagos records 21 cholera deaths, 401 infections

Cholera banner. Credit: UCR News

. As Ogun govt. announces preventive measures in schools

The Lagos State Government has said deaths from the state’s cholera outbreak have risen from 15 to 21, while infections climbed to 401 from 350.  

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, said the rise in cases was anticipated following the Eid-el Kabir celebration, in which large gatherings occurred.

Ms Ogunyemi made the disclosure in an update released by Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, Director, Public Affairs in the state’s Ministry of Health on Thursday in Lagos. 

She said the cases increased to 401 across Lagos, with Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa recording the highest numbers of infections.

She noted that suspected cases were subsiding across local government areas, particularly in previously affected LGAs due to the state government’s interventions and surveillance efforts.

This comes as the Ogun state government has directed school heads to ensure good health and safety of all learners and staff to prevent the spread of cholera within the school communities.

Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, gave the directive in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Wednesday.

 Ms Ogunyemi spoke in an update on the outbreak after meeting with members of the Lagos State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre.

“The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Environment and its agency, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency continues to collect samples of water sources, food, and beverages to identify the source of contamination.

“We have also intensified our surveillance activities in communities, particularly in affected local government areas, to address the situation head-on.

 “We are also working with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, as well as the Ministry of Tertiary Education to ensure all precautions are taken in our schools to protect children and scholars as they return. Residents must, however, remain vigilant, practise good hand hygiene, and participate in community sanitation activities to stop the spread of cholera,” she said. 

Residents must, however, remain vigilant, practise good hand hygiene, and participate in community sanitation activities to stop the spread of cholera

Immediate medical attention

Ms Ogunyemi advised citizens to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, general malaise and fever.

She added that treatment for cholera was provided free of charge at all public health facilities.

She reiterated the state government’s commitment to ensuring that residents of Lagos receive quality and affordable health care.

The special adviser commended local, national, and international partners—including UNICEF, WHO, NCDC, NIMR, Red Cross, and others—for their support in combating the outbreak.

She said, “Appreciation is also extended to the dedicated team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab scientists, environmental health officers, water corporation officers, surveillance officers, heads of agencies, members of PHEOC, and volunteers who are working around the clock to combat the disease and keep Lagos safe.’’

 Lagos on June 11 alerted residents to the development that the state had recorded an excess report of severe gastroenteritis cases. 

 The state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, on June 15 disclosed that laboratory tests had confirmed that the outbreak was due to cholera with the identified strain being highly aggressive and contagious, with potential for widespread transmission.

 Mr Abayomi disclosed that 350 suspected cases of cholera were reported in 29 wards across multiple LGAs in the state.

 According to him, there are 17 confirmed cases and 15 fatalities attributed to severe dehydration caused by delayed presentation at health facilities.

 Data from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control showed that Nigeria recorded over 1,141 suspected and 65 confirmed cases of cholera, resulting in over 30 deaths from January 1 to June 11, 2024, in 30 states.

Preventive measures

Meanwhile, Mr Arigbabu noted that preventive measures had been put in place to control the spread of the disease in schools in Ogun state.

According to him, the measures take effect from Wednesday, as schools resume from the mid-term break and the Eid-el-Kabir holiday.

He listed some of the measures to include comprehensive health talks on cholera prevention, information on symptoms, transmission routes, proper hand hygiene and safe drinking water practices.

Other measures, he added, are to ensure availability of clean water and soap for hand washing in school premises, encourage regular hand washing, especially before eating and after using the restroom.”

He also directed school heads to promote the use of hand sanitisers with at least 60 per cent alcohol content as support to hand washing.

There should also be regular inspection and maintenance of water sources within school premises to ensure they are safe for drinking, the commissioner also directed.

“Monitor closely the food vendors and ensure that they collect letters from health facilities, certifying their fitness for the job,” he added.

He explained that designated health officers would be in schools to monitor learners and staff for symptoms of cholera (like frequent watery stooling, vomiting, etc.).

He also directed school heads to report any suspected cases immediately to the nearest healthcare centre and to the ministry of education, science and technology.

“By adhering strictly to these preventive measures and maintaining a high level of vigilance, we can collectively safeguard our health and wellbeing during this critical period,” he added. (NAN)

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