Five die, 60 hospitalised in Lagos Cholera outbreak

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No fewer than five people have died from the outbreak of severe gastroenteritis in communities in Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe local government areas of Lagos State.

According to the State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, 60 others have been placed on admission at various hospitals within the affected districts.

Abayomi, who made this known while reacting to the state surveillance reports, added that the state government has issued a call for heightened vigilance and the adoption of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of a potential cholera outbreak in the state.

He said, “We have activated a state-wide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis. We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states.”

The Commissioner noted that following recent rains, Lagos State has seen a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation are particularly at risk.

Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that causes severe diarrhoea and can be life-threatening, adding that it poses a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation and could impact Lagos State.

“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and a lack of handwashing. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever, and sometimes collapse,” he said.

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According to him, treatment options for cholera include rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration. Intravenous fluids are used for severely dehydrated patients and are given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel.

“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation is crucial.

“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential, as is following food safety guidelines,” the Commissioner advised.

He enjoined citizens to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management. He added that suspected cases can be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

While emphasising the importance of maintaining high standards of hygiene and taking proactive measures to prevent cholera outbreaks, Professor Abayomi promised to keep the public informed and restated the commitment of the government of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensuring the health and well-being of its citizens.

“We urge everyone to adopt these preventive measures and report any suspected cases promptly to safeguard our communities,” he stated.


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