The Ekiti State Government on Friday announced it had discovered five suspected cases of cholera in Moba Local Government Area of the state.

The discovery has heightened fears that the state may be set for an epidemic.

At least 27 states and the FCT have been ravaged by cholera outbreak this year, leading to hundreds of deaths.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, a total of 2,404 persons have died of the disease since its outbreak in Nigeria this year.

As of Week 36, which is within September, a total of 72,910 suspected cases were recorded in 27 states and the FCT and from 336 local government areas.

The affected states are Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.

In the current week 36, which is between September 6 and 12, a total of 23 persons died of the disease out of 1,182 suspected cases reported from 13 states.

The suspected cases are in Bauchi (472), Katsina (194), Borno (106), Jigawa (95), Yobe (80), Kaduna (68), Adamawa (63), Sokoto (38), Gombe (34), Abia (13), Taraba (10), Ogun (8) and Niger (1).

A statement in Ado Ekiti, on Friday, by the Commissioner for Health, Banji Filani, said the Ministry of Health had reinforced cholera surveillance, to pick up early any suspected case to mitigate the outbreak.

Mr Filani also alerted the citizens about a possible outbreak of cholera in some local government areas of the state and cautioned them on proper hygiene in those susceptible areas and other parts of the state.

“On the 19th of September, 2021, five suspected cases of cholera were reported in Moba Local Government Area of the State. These cases were picked up by community informants and reported to the LGA health authorities who in turn reported to the State Ministry of health for proper investigation,” he said.

“Given the risk of this outbreak escalating rapidly across the State, the Ministry of Health has commenced active case finding across all LGAs in the State. State surveillance teams have been deployed to support the outbreak response at the LGA level.

“These teams are actively searching for and investigating suspected cases in health facilities, informal treatment centres and within communities. This is in line with earlier developed emergency operations plan to tackle a possible cholera outbreak in the State.”

Mr Filani maintained that the state was also leveraging on the capacity that has been built during the COVID-19 response to handle the present situation, assuring that the government is on red alert to tame the disease.

“Cholera is a preventable and treatable epidemic-prone disease that is transmitted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. The number of cholera cases tends to increase during the rainy season and the risk of death from cholera is very high when treatment is delayed,” he said.

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“Hence, it is very important to visit a health facility if symptoms of cholera such as watery diarrhoea and vomiting are observed. The State Government urges members of the public to be aware of the risk of the disease.”

He advised that residents should boil and store water in clean and safe containers before drinking, while food should be cooked and stored safely.

He said people should wash hands frequently with soap under clean running water especially after defecation and before handling food or eating, as well as avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping.

“Visit a health facility immediately, if symptoms of cholera such as watery diarrhoea and vomiting are observed. Notify the health authorities in your community if you know someone with the above-mentioned symptoms,” said Mr Filani.

The commissioner directed the health workers to be conscious of the happenings and maintain rapid response in discovery of suspected cases, while also observing standard protocols for infection prevention and control.

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