Authorities in Lagos issue warning after cholera outbreak claims five lives and hospitalizes 60

With a surge in severe cases of gastroenteritis reported over the past 48 hours, the Lagos State Government has urged the public to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures to prevent the potential spread of cholera within the state.

Addressing the situation, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, highlighted the recent cases of severe gastroenteritis in communities across Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe Local Government Areas. This has resulted in approximately 60 hospitalizations and sadly, five fatalities, mainly due to late presentation with severe dehydration.

Abayomi stated, “A heightened surveillance and response protocol has been activated across the state. Our health authorities are closely monitoring the situation, and we have alerted relevant agencies to investigate a potential source of water contamination in the Lekki Victoria Island axis.”

While there are suspicions of a cholera outbreak, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria has recorded 815 suspected cholera cases with 14 fatalities across 25 states,” added Abayomi.

The commissioner emphasized that following recent rains, Lagos State has witnessed a rise in cases of severe vomiting and diarrhea. He warned that urban slums and densely populated areas with poor sanitation practices are especially vulnerable to the spread of cholera.

Cholera, a highly contagious disease causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, poses a significant health risk in areas with inadequate water treatment and sanitation, potentially impacting Lagos State.

Highlighting the transmission modes of cholera, Abayomi explained, “Cholera can spread through direct ingestion of contaminated food or water, as well as indirectly through improper sanitation and lack of hand hygiene. Symptoms include profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, muscle cramps, fever, and in severe cases, collapse.”

Treatment options for cholera include rehydration through Oral Rehydration Salts for mild to moderate cases, while severely dehydrated patients require Intravenous Fluids administered under medical supervision.

To prevent cholera, the public is advised to ensure the safety of drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or opting for bottled water, and to avoid consuming ice made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation practices, such as using toilets, appropriate disposal of feces, and avoiding open defecation, is crucial.

Practicing good hygiene, including frequent handwashing with soap and water, particularly before eating, food preparation, and after using the toilet, is essential. The commissioner also stressed the importance of adhering to food safety guidelines.

Citizens are urged to seek guidance and updates on prevention, treatment, and management from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and accredited health facilities. Suspected cases can be reported through emergency hotlines or helplines provided by the authorities.

Abayomi reassured the public of the government’s commitment, under the leadership of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to prioritize the health and well-being of its residents. “We encourage everyone to take preventive measures and promptly report any suspected cases to protect our communities,” he concluded.

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