Cholera – Nigeria

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At least 50 people have died in a suspected cholera outbreak this year in Nigeria.

Some eight states across the country have reported the suspected cholera outbreaks. As of March 28, a total of 1,746 suspected cases including 50 deaths with a case fatality rate that is 2.9 per cent have been reported.

The outbreaks during rain season in Nigeria have remained persistent and more often in areas with poor sanitation, overcrowding, lack of clean food and water, and areas where open defecation is common practice.

In 2018 Nigeria confirmed more than 16,000 cholera-related cases across the country.

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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