By Jessica Onyegbula
Abuja – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has deployed a team to support the Borno Ministry of Health to contain a cholera outbreak in some parts of the state.
The Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ihekweazu said that following investigations led by the Borno State Ministry of Health with support from the WHO and other partner agencies, cholera was confirmed by NCDC’s Central Public Health Laboratory in Lagos.
According to him, the disease is currently affecting six areas in the state with Muna Garage IDP Camp on the outskirts of the state capital, Maiduguri, worst affected.
He added that the NCDC in collaboration with other partners and humanitarian agencies were working closely to support the state government in curtailing the spread of the outbreak.
Ihekweazu said that NCDC had deployed a Rapid Response Team to support the State Ministry of Health in coordination, contact identification, tracing and laboratory investigation as well as case management.
He said that public health measures have been initiated which include the establishment of a Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) in the affected camp and surrounding areas.
Ihekweazu also said that strengthening access to water, sanitation and hygiene were other measures taken to curb the spread of the disease, adding that partners were working together to conduct a cholera vaccination of the state.
The CEO said that risk communications activities, using both conventional media and door-to-door enlightenment, had been reinforced.
He said that 319 suspected cases and 20 deaths had been reported in the state as at Saturday.
“Cholera is a disease that causes acute watery diarrhea in children and adults.
“ While Cholera is endemic in Nigeria, we find an increase in the number of cases during the rainy season.
“The disease is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated and is more common in areas with overcrowding as well as poor sanitation and hygiene practices.
“Cholera is characterised by sudden onset of severe acute watery diarrhea which can lead to death as a result of dehydration,’’ he said.
Ihekweazu said that other symptoms of cholera include nausea, vomiting and weakness.
He, therefore, urged members of the public to report all sick persons with these signs or symptoms to a health care facility immediately for early initiation of treatment.
The official also advised health care workers to strongly practise universal care precautions while handling patients at all times.
“The NCDC urges all states to report cases of cholera immediately, while improving on the timeliness of their reporting generally to prevent widespread outbreaks,’’ Ihekweazu added.(NAN)