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Unregistered Tiger Nut Drinks Caused Lagos Cholera Outbreak, Says Government

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Unregistered Tiger Nut Drinks Caused Lagos Cholera Outbreak, Says Government

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Unregistered Tiger Nut Drinks Caused Lagos Cholera Outbreak, Says Government

Dr. Kemi Ogunyemi, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, attributes the recent cholera outbreak in Lagos State to the consumption of unregistered tiger nut drinks.

Causes of the Cholera Outbreak

While cholera cases are not uncommon in Nigeria, a significant surge in cases was observed between June 10 and 11, 2024, primarily affecting Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti-Osa. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) often anticipates cholera outbreaks during the rainy season due to environmental conditions like inadequate clean water, open defecation, and poor sanitation practices. Flooding and overflowing canals further contribute to water contamination.

Investigation and Findings

Environmental Health Services officials from the Ministries of Health and Environment investigated the surge in Eti-Osa and identified a tiger nut drink as a common factor among those hospitalized. Testing revealed that the drink was unregistered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The investigation traced the cholera cases to these drinks, confirming the presence of Vibrio cholera subtype 01, the most infectious type. Despite efforts to trace the drink’s origin, only empty bottles were found, and the listed phone number was unreachable.

Impact and Response

The outbreak has led to increased public awareness and preventive measures, such as encouraging handwashing and boiling water. However, despite these efforts, fatalities have risen, with 21 deaths reported as of Thursday morning, June 20, 2024. Most deaths occurred due to delayed medical attention.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Cholera symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle pains, rapid heart rate, and general fatigue. Symptoms can appear within 24 hours of infection, and prompt medical attention is crucial. The NCDC has provided rapid diagnostic tests to hospitals, and immediate rehydration therapy is administered to those presenting with symptoms.

Community Impact and Monitoring

In affected areas, increased public awareness has led to the removal of tiger nut drinks from the market. Despite the spread to other states, including Oyo and Bayelsa, the NCDC is closely monitoring the situation. Daily meetings and real-time data analysis help manage the outbreak.

Possible Emergency Declaration

The NCDC is conducting risk assessments and may declare an emergency if necessary. Currently, life continues as normal, with schools and workplaces remaining open. The Ministry of Education is monitoring schools, and teachers are trained to recognize symptoms and provide hydration.

Collaboration with Health Organizations

The response to the outbreak involves collaboration with organizations like UNICEF, the Red Cross, and WHO. These partners provide information, support, and monitoring to prevent the situation from escalating.

Public Health Measures

Treatment for cholera at public hospitals and primary healthcare centers is free. The government ensures that diagnosis, medications, and admission costs are covered to encourage timely medical attention and reduce the spread of the disease.

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