Outbreak! New cholera deaths reported in Nigeria
Large cholera outbreak in African nation was reported last year
Twenty-four people have died in a cholera outbreak across Nigeria. At least 952 people have been diagnosed with cholera in the first four weeks of 2014, following a surge in cases in 2013.
A cholera outbreak infected 40,000 people in Nigeria and around 80,000 people throughout the region in 2011.
Kano State was the worst affected at the beginning of 2014 with 234 cases and 12 deaths while neighboring Bauchi state had reported five cases in early January. An additional 237 cases towards the end of the month were reported as the disease spread.
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Bauchi state neighbors Yobe State, one of three states in northeastern Nigeria where an Islamist insurgency and the military's counter-offensive has driven over 5,000 people across the border into Niger and Cameroon since mid-January.
"The health system capacity is completely lost in those states and the medical officers have fled, which means the affected people wouldn't have the necessary care that they should receive in this situation," Christophe Valingot, a water and sanitation expert at the European Union's humanitarian aid arm ECHO said.
He warns that if the cholera spreads to the northeastern states the impact would be disastrous. There was already cholera cases reported in neighboring Niger.
"There already cases reported in Maradi and Diffa in Niger. The fact that there were no cases reported since 2011 around the Chad Lake means that people are more susceptibility to be infected by cholera," he said.
A cholera outbreak infected 40,000 people in Nigeria and around 80,000 people throughout the region in 2011, Valingot said.
A diarrheal disease, cholera can be managed with good hygiene and sanitation as well as basic health kits and oral rehydration solution, a cheap and readily available mixture of salts and sugars. Left untreated, it can cause death in up to 50 percent of cases.
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