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Cholera Outbreak: Nigeria Runs Out Of Vaccine As Death Toll Hits 40

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AS the death toll from the latest cholera outbreak hits 40, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the country does not have enough vaccines. According to the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Jide Idris, Nigeria has placed an order for more cholera vaccines from donor agencies, even though the date of delivery is still unknown.

The NCDC boss stressed the need for the country to embrace the use of vaccines and other preventive measures to curb the spread of the acute diarrhoeal infection.

Cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by the ingestion of the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae, in contaminated water and food.

No fewer than 4,364 people have died out of the 139,730 Nigerians suspected to have been infected with the disease across the country in the last four years, an investigation by this newspaper has indicated. The incidence rate was derived from an analysis of the weekly cholera situation reports released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control between 2021 and 2024.

Recall that the NCDC recently alerted the public to the increasing trend of cholera cases across the country as the rainy season intensifies. In a statement signed by Idris on Thursday, June 13, 2024, the agency said that from January 1 to June 11, 2024, a total of 1,141 suspected cases, 65 confirmed cases, and 30 deaths from cholera had been reported from 96 local government areas in 30 states of the federation.

The NCDC listed the 10 states that contributed 90 per cent to the burden of cholera as Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, and Lagos. As of then, the Lagos State Ministry of Health said it had recorded 350 suspected cases of the disease in 29 wards across multiple LGAs with 17 confirmed cases and 15 fatalities attributed to severe dehydration caused by delayed presentation.

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However, on Friday, the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said the cholera incidence rate in the state had risen to 417 suspected cases, and 35 confirmed cases, with 24 deaths.

In a post made on his Instagram handle on Friday afternoon, Abayomi said, “The situation report as of June 19, 2024, indicated 417 suspected cases, 35 confirmed cases, and 24 recorded deaths.”

“Let’s adhere strictly to personal and environmental hygiene. Let’s stay safe #ForAGreaterLagos.”

He said the cases were reported from the Agege, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Epe, Ikorodu, Ojo, Alimosho, and Eti-Osa areas of the state.

Others he mentioned include Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Amuwo-Odofin, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos Island, Shomolu, Apapa, Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos Mainland, and Surulere.

Also, the Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, told our correspondent on Thursday that the state had recorded one death and 14 cases.

This implies that in the last 12 days, the incidence rate of the disease in the country for this year had hit 1,222 suspected cases, 88 confirmed cases, and 40 fatalities.

The NCDC, however, stated that a multi-sectoral National Cholera Technical Working Group, led by the centre and comprising the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other partners, had been providing support to the affected states.

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With the latest incidence rate from Ogun and Lagos, investigations by this newspaper showed that a total of 4,364 deaths had been recorded out of the 139,730 people suspected to have been infected by the disease across the country since 2021.

Going by one of the NCDC’s cholera situation reports for week 52, there were a total of 111,062 suspected cases of the disease with 3,604 deaths across 435 local government areas in 34 states of the federation in 2021.

Another Cholera Week 52 report published by the NCDC and analysed by our correspondent revealed that in 2022, the country recorded 23,763 suspected cases with 592 deaths across 271 LGs in 33 states of the federation.

In 2023, there was a reduction in the incidence rate of the disease as the country recorded 3,683 suspected cases with 128 deaths across 166 LGs in 31 states of the country.

The prevalence rate of the disease further went down in 2024 with 1,141 suspected cases and 30 deaths recorded across 84 LGs in 30 states of the federation.

There were 473,000 cholera cases reported to the World Health Organisation in 2022, which was a 100 per cent increase compared to the rate reported to the global health organisation in 2021.

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