Seventeen persons have been confirmed dead in 1,617 reported suspected cases as a cholera outbreak continues to ravage Kwara State in North-central Nigeria.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, disclosed the grim figures in its weekly epidemiological report for Week 26 released on Tuesday.
According to the agency, the suspected cases were reported as at the end July 9 with 13 laboratory samples confirming the disease and a case fatality rate of 1.1 percent recorded.
This is an increase of 3.6 percent suspected cases from the previous week epidemiological report where 1. 558 suspected cases were reported, 13 confirmed and 11 deaths recorded.
Children under the age of five remain the most affected with 460, (28.4 percent) of the cases reported with the male population accounting for 51.6 percent of the cases.
According to the health agency, 818, (50.5 percent) of the suspected cases were reported from Ilorin West, the percentage remaining constant from the previous week.
In the epidemological report for the week which closed June 30, four local government areas in Kwara state, Asa, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, Ilorin West, were reported affected with 50.6 per cent from Ilorin West.
With the continued disease spread and increasing death toll in the state, NCDC has enjoined Nigerians to maintain hygienic environmental practices in order to reduce the spread of the disease.
The agency explained that environmental hygiene involves care of residential areas, proper treatment and disposal of waste, stressing that to achieve maximal impact, a communal approach to hygiene is encouraged.
“This will support better fostering and impact on the general public on the importance of environmental hygiene practices, in and out of an outbreak season. These preventive messages should also constitute part of the messages given to the general public at the community, LGA, State and national levels before and during an outbreak,” it stated.
NCDC also advocated multisectoral collaboration between states; relevant Ministries, Agencies, and Departments (MDAs) and partner agencies in ensuring that a holistic approach is taken during preparation and response to outbreaks of epidemic prone diseases and public health events of concern.
“Furthermore, healthy collaborations with the ministry of environment should be encouraged for initiating and sustaining environmental hygiene strategies implemented at all levels and members of the public should always seek care in a health facility if they have watery diarrhoea,” it added.
NCDC’s preventive messages on proper environmental hygiene practices:
1. Care of residential area- Clear all waste around residential areas
• Report any break in water pipes to the appropriate authority
• Site latrine facilities far away from residential areas
2. Waste Disposal
• Use appropriate disposal bags to gather waste before disposal.
• Dumping site should be as far away as possible residential areas
• Use of latrines and toilets. If latrines or toilets are unavailable, bury feces 30 meters (98ft) away from any body of water.
• Increase access to improved sanitation facility e.g. connection to a public sewer, connection to a septic tank, simple pit-latrine, and ventilated improved latrine
• Facilities such as bucket latrines, public or shared latrines, and trenches should be replaced as soon as possible by improved and longer term sanitation facilities, after a cholera outbreak.
3. Treatment of Waste – Antibacterial treatment of general sewage by chlorine, ozone, ultraviolet light or other effective treatment before it enters the waterways or underground water supplies. This helps to prevent undiagnosed cholera patients from inadvertently spreading the disease.