On the 16th of August 2017, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was notified of a possible outbreak of Cholera in a camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Borno State. Following investigations led by the Borno State Ministry of Health with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partner agencies, cholera was confirmed by NCDC’s Central Public Health Laboratory in Lagos. It is currently affecting six areas in the State, with Muna Garage IDP Camp, on the outskirts of the state capital Maiduguri as the most affected.
The Federal Ministry of Health through its agencies- Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) are working closely with WHO, MSF, UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies in Borno, to support the State Government in curtailing the spread of the outbreak. Public health measures that have been initiated include the establishment of a cholera treatment Centre in the affected camp and surrounding areas, strengthening access to water, sanitation and hygiene and partners are working collaboratively to plan a cholera vaccination campaign. Risk communications activities, using both conventional media and door-to-door enlightenment have been reinforced. The NCDC has deployed a Rapid Response Team to support the Borno State Ministry of Health in coordination, contact identification, and tracing, laboratory investigation as well as case management. Medical supplies including personal protective equipment and drugs are available to support the response in the State. Borno State Ministry of Health continues to lead the response to the outbreak. Partners currently involved in the humanitarian response in Borno State are working closely with the State and Federal Government to control the outbreak. Throughout the weekend, health workers from both Government and Partner agencies worked hard to scale up all aspects of prevention and response. As at the 2nd of September 2017, 319 suspected cases and 20 deaths had been reported in the State.
Cholera is a disease that causes acute watery diarrhea in children and adults. While Cholera is endemic in Nigeria, we find as an increase in the number of cases during the rainy season, usually between April and September. The disease is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated and is more common in areas with overcrowding, poor sanitation, and hygiene practices.
When severe, Cholera is characterized by sudden onset of severe acute watery diarrhea which can lead to death as a result of dehydration. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, weakness.
Members of the public are urged to report all sick persons with these signs or symptoms to a health care facility immediately for early initiation of treatment.
Health care workers are strongly advised to practice universal care precautions while handling patients at all times.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control urges all States to report cases of Cholera immediately while improving on the timeliness of their reporting generally to prevent widespread outbreaks. A Cholera advisory note on preventive measures against an infection or outbreak of the disease is available on the NCDC website via http://www.ncdc.gov.ng/news/92/4september-2017-%7C-abuja-%E2%80%93cholera-advisory-note
NCDC toll-free number: 0800-970000-10
SIGNED Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
NC/CEO Nigeria Centre for Disease Control