Cholera Hits Kirikiri Prison, Katsina Records 118 Suspected Cases

Cholera Hits Kirikiri Prison, Katsina Records 118 Suspected Cases

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, on Sunday, disclosed that 25 cases of severe gastroenteritis confirmed to be caused by cholera were reported at Kirikiri Medium Security Prison.

The development was against the claim by the Nigerian Correctional Service on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, that the custodial centres nationwide were free of cholera.

The NCoS spokesman, Abubakar Umar, speaking with The PUNCH, had stated that the routine hygienic measures put in place in the correctional centres had helped to keep cholera out.

However, in a statement on Sunday, signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the commissioner reported “a small outbreak of 25 cases of severe gastroenteritis confirmed to be caused by cholera.”

He said urgent medical and environmental measures had been implemented successfully.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention also recorded 118 suspected cholera cases in Katsina State.

Available data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention showed as of June 24, 2024, there were 1,528 suspected cholera cases, 65 confirmed cases and 53 deaths across 107 local government areas in 31 states, reflecting a case fatality rate of 3.5 per cent since the beginning of the year.

The most affected states were Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa and Lagos.

To combat the spread, President Bola Tinubu approved the establishment of a multi-sectoral cabinet committee on the control of the epidemic, headed by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate.

Speaking on the Lagos outbreak, Abayomi, at the update on the cholera outbreak at the weekend, said no new cholera-related deaths had been reported in the last 72 hours, as the government kept intensifying countermeasures to eliminate transmission.

He confirmed ongoing low-grade community transmission, as the new daily cases and deaths reduced.

He, however, noted that interventions were bearing dividends as residents were adhering to public health information and advice on safety measures and the need for early presentation to health facilities when symptoms developed.

On the Kirikiri incident, Abayomi said, “We supplied Kirikiri medium prison with intravenous fluids, infection prevention, and other health consumables.

“Additionally, the World Health Organisation donated 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals already delivered to the prison to support prison health facilities with prevention strategies for about 3,200 inmates if required.

“Immediate water and sanitation issues have been corrected and there are ongoing inspections of other correctional facilities in the state.”

Addressing the source of the original outbreak two weeks ago, Abayomi said it had been traced to unregulated street beverages and contaminated water supply.

He said many samples taken from popular street beverages purchased by undercover environmental officers from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Health in the affected areas confirmed the presence of vibrio cholera bacteria, which is the cause of cholera.

“All the containers had no NAFDAC accreditation numbers, indicating they are small cottage backyard informal production units.

“Identifying the precise location of manufacture has proven difficult and the directorate of environmental health is planning to seal any such unregulated manufacture and make arrests of anybody involved with the manufacture or distribution of beverages without NAFDAC numbers,” Abayomi said.

The commissioner said there was no need for the public to panic and expressed optimism that with continued collaboration, vigilance, and commitment from all stakeholders, the state was taking decisive actions to combat and control cholera.

In Katsina, the Director of Epidemiology at Katsina State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Kabir Suleiman, said the 118 suspected cases returned negative.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, he said, “Based on our records, around March this year, we had a cholera outbreak in Kusada Local Government Area. There were 68 suspected cases, where we had two confirmed cases with one death.

“The situation was effectively managed by the government, together with the development partners,” he said.

Suleiman added that recently, about 118 suspected cholera samples were taken for laboratory tests.

According to him, all the cases were negative, adding, “So, for now, we don’t have new cholera cases. But the state is fully prepared for any emergency.

“We can coordinate any outbreak that can affect the state at any time.”

The director said the state, together with some of the development partners, had the required equipment to fight the disease.

“We have all the needed equipment to treat such outbreaks. We have maintained our system at alert. The Rapid Response Teams, including surveillance and notification officers, have already been trained in the proper detection and management of such diseases.

“In terms of prevention and control, we are taking measures to curtail the spread of the disease to other places in the state,” he said.

Suleiman also said the government had established ‘Oral Rehydration Points’ at the 34 comprehensive health centres for admission and treatment of cholera cases.

“We also have a normal routine surveillance system working throughout the day to take care of emergencies like cholera,” he said.

In Kaduna, the State Primary Health Care Board said that there was no reported case of cholera in the state.

The Incident Manager of the board, Dr Abdullahi Musa, in an interview with the NAN, said the state was alert and prepared in the advent of any emergency.

Musa, who doubles as the board’s Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer, said the state had reactivated its rapid response team comprising experts capable of responding to any outbreak or public health emergency.

He equally said the state had identified some selected facilities that could diagnose cholera cases, adding that the government was also supporting water purification by procuring chlorine for use at water sources.

There is no reported case of cholera in Kano State, against the listing of the state among states battling the epidemic by the NCDC.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Abubakar Labaran, while fielding questions from newsmen in Kano, said findings so far revealed there was no cholera outbreak in the state.

“We don’t have a single case as of now. We have seen some reports in the media but we can categorically tell you that there is none,” he said.

The commissioner explained that the state government had unveiled proactive measures to safeguard the people against the outbreak in the state.

Labaran said, “As a government, we have taken necessary measures, including alerting our Emergency Preparedness Response committee two weeks ago when the disease broke out in Lagos.

“The committee, comprising health practitioners, surveillance and notification officers, health educators, and ward volunteers, is tasked with reporting any strange disease or pandemic and taking prompt measures to halt its spread.

“The state has launched a sensitisation campaign to educate people, particularly in rural areas, on how to protect themselves.

“We have launched public campaigns to raise awareness and promote proactive measures within communities, focusing on personal and environmental hygiene, and avoiding the consumption of unsafe water.”

Similarly, the Director-General, Kano State Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Muhammad Abbas, called on the people to take cholera with the seriousness it deserves due to its fatal consequences in society.

The NCDC has, however, said improper refuse disposal and open defecation practices are endangering the quality of water sources used for drinking and personal use.

It expressed concern over the growing threat to water safety in the country, which triggers outbreaks of water-borne diseases, including cholera.

The Director-General, Dr Jide Idris, in an interview with NAN, on Sunday, urged Nigerians to adopt safe sanitation practices.

He also called on state governments to enforce stricter waste management regulations, saying “unsafe practices lead to contamination of water bodies.”

He therefore advised, “We must take responsibility to ensure the safety of our water. Proper waste disposal and elimination of open defecation are crucial in this direction.

“There is also the need for public education and awareness about the importance of hygiene and proper sanitation practices amid rising concerns about the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid, which thrive in unsanitary conditions.”

He explained that as the rainy season sets in, the risk of water contamination may be heightened, hence the need for communities to take immediate action.

The Ogun State Waste Management Authority also appealed to residents of the state to start putting their wastes in containers, saying that such healthy habits would help to curb the spread of diseases like cholera, among others.

The Managing Director of OGWAMA, Abayomi Hunye, appealed while inspecting the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Kurata Dumpsite in Ota, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government area of the state.

Hunye, according to a statement on Sunday, said containerising waste by residents would make refuse collection and disposal easy.

He also said it would help prevent the contamination of the environment and the spread of contagious diseases.

Hunye called on those living in areas where wastes had been left open to avoid drinking well, boreholes as well as sachet water, as some of them might not be fit for human consumption.


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