Cholera – Niger
Niger is facing a cholera epidemic due to floods caused by heavy rains recorded in the country since mid-August.
More than 800 cases have been recorded across the West African country including in the capital Niamey.
Cholera is a water-borne disease when faecal contamination occurs with drinking water.
The Nigerian health authorities are looking to revamp the health system to deal with the outbreak. The medical team and supply of drugs have been stationed in all the places to deal with the epidemic. Besides taking care of the health of the public, the medical team is also educating the population on proper hygiene practices.
Photo: Vibrio tasmaniensis bacteria, a close relative of Vibrio cholerae.
Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The main risk is severe dehydration, this happens sometimes within hours.
It is spread mostly by unsafe water and unsafe food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria. Under-cooked seafood is a common source.
Risk factors for the disease include poor sanitation, not enough clean drinking water, and poverty.
Cholera affects an estimated 3–5 million people worldwide and causes 28.800–130.000 deaths a year. Areas with ongoing risk include Africa and South East Asia, where it occurs in outbreaks.
Descriptions of cholera are found as early as the 5th century BC in Sanskrit.
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