At least 30 people died from cholera in Jigawa State in the past month, an official has said.
The Jigawa casualties add to the increasing death toll from the disease across Nigeria. Other states that have reported deaths from cholera in the past few weeks include Enugu, Benue, Plateau and Bayelsa.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in Jigawa, Salisu Mu’azu, said the deaths were from the over 2,000 patients who tested positive for the disease in nine of the 27 local government areas of the state. Hadejia and Dutse local governments are the most affected, he said.
He blamed open defecation for the spread of the disease.
“Specifically in Hadejia LGA, the outbreak was due to open defecation from a nearby almajiri school that contaminated a water source,” he said.
The state government has shut down the water source pending further investigation, the official said.
He said rainfall washes faeces and other wastes into wells and water outlets that the residents use for domestic purposes.
Mr Mu’azu said the state government has directed the release of free drugs to the victims for immediate medical attention.
He said UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders have indicated readiness to partner with the state in mitigating the scourge from further spreading.
Water sanitation and hygiene
Amidst the cholera outbreak in Jigawa, the federal government certified 14 local government areas as Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the state.
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, presented ODF certificates to the affected local government’s areas at Sule-tankarkar LGA during an official visit to the state on Monday.
The local councils declared open defecation free include Gagarawa, Birniwa, Guri, Sule-Tankarkar, Gwiwa, Kiyawa, Dutse, Buji, Birnin Kudu, Taura, Kafin Hausa, Auyo and Jahun.
Mr Adamu said the areas were declared open defecation free after over three million families in over 40,000 communities in the areas met the requirement of ODF protocol for hygiene promotion.
According to the minister, some of the conditions for attaining the ODF status include: communities must have eliminated open defecation by 100 per cent toilet use and increased ownership and sustainability of hygiene and sanitation services.
The Monday announcement of the cholera deaths in Jigawa occurs two days after the Enugu government confirmed that seven people died from the bacteria infection in a market in the state.
The Enugu State Ministry of Health said there was a cholera outbreak in New Artisan Market, Enugu, which resulted in the death of seven people in the market with 19 persons identified with the symptoms of loose stool and vomiting.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Commissioner for Health in Enugu, Emmanuel Obi, disclosed in a Saturday statement that the ministry’s rapid response team, upon receiving reports of the incident, carried out an immediate investigation and “it was observed that the patients presented with sudden onset of passage of loose stool and vomiting”.
He added that “the ill persons identified within the area were immediately and safely evacuated to the state teaching hospital and are receiving treatment, while health education on safe and hygienic practices were given to the inhabitants of the market”.
According to the health commissioner, “further tests carried out by the State Ministry of Health at the Teaching Hospital revealed that all the persons were suffering from cholera.
Mr Obi explained that cholera “is an infection caused by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Risk factors are from poor sanitation, and contaminated drinking water.
“The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Symptoms range from none, to mild, to severe.
“Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and even death. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.”
“It is prevented by improvements in sanitation, use of clean water, hand washing and vaccines. Treatment involves replacement of lost body fluids orally or intravenously, zinc supplementation and antibiotics,” he said.