At least 20 people have been killed so far in an outbreak of cholera in Nigeria’s southern Cross River state, a local official said on Sunday.
Janet Ekpeyong, head of the Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, told reporters in Calabar, the state capital, that the local authorities have launched an investigation into the outbreak recorded across 10 villages in the Abi local government area of the state between Thursday and Saturday.
More than 30 people have been so far hospitalized as a result of the outbreak, Ekpeyong said, noting human and material resources have been deployed to the affected villages to prevent a further spread of the highly virulent disease.
The official said the deaths could have been avoided if protocols were followed in the affected villages.
“We are applying every possible means to halt transmission as we have gone across the community sensitizing the people on the possible ways of managing the disease,” she said, explaining that a response team together with representatives from the World Health Organization, the Nigerian Red Cross and experts on the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene program earlier launched by the Nigerian government were on ground to provide support to the residents of the affected villages.
As a measure to manage the outbreak, Ekpeyong said the government had so far established communication with the community leaders to ensure their communities adhere to hygiene protocols to end cholera and other related illnesses in that part of the country.
In addition, she said the treatment of the water source and fumigation was ongoing, noting the community had been grappling with the challenges of potable water and poor health facilities.
Cholera is characterized in its most severe form by the sudden onset of acute watery diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration.
The cholera outbreak is frequently reported in Nigeria due to the lack of potable water supply, especially in densely populated areas. ■