By Charles Nwoke, Dutse, Nigeria.
Over 2,000 people have tested positive for the disease in the state, official says.
An official said, no fewer than 30 persons died from cholera epidemic in Jigawa State in the past month.
The Jigawa state casualties add to the high spate of death from the disease across Nigeria. Other states that have reported deaths from cholera in the past few weeks are Enugu, Benue, Plateau and Bayelsa.
Salisu Mu’azu, the Jigawa state Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary, disclosed that the deaths were from the over 2,000 patients who tested positive for the disease in nine of the 27 local government areas of the state. He said that Hadejia and Dutse local governments are the most affected areas.
He blamed the spread of the epidemic disease on open defecation.
He said, “Specifically in Hadejia LGA, the outbreak was due to open defecation from a nearby almajiri school that contaminated a water source.”
The official said, pending when further investigation will be carried out, the state government has shutdown the water source.
According to him, rainfall washes faeces and other wastes into wells and water outlets that the inhabitants use for domestic purposes.
Mu’azu said the state government has directed the release of free drugs to the victims for immediate medical attention.
He added that UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders have indicated interest in working with the state in fighting the scourge from further spreading.
Despite the cholera outbreak in Jigawa state, Nigeria federal government has gone ahead to certify 14 local government councils as Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the state.
Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, presented ODF certificates on Monday to the affected local government areas at Sule-tankarkar local government council when he paid official visit to the state.
The local government areas declared open defecation free are Gagarawa, Birniwa, Guri, Sule-Tankarkar, Gwiwa, Kiyawa, Dutse, Buji, Birnin Kudu, Taura, Kafin Hausa, Auyo and Jahun.
Adamu said the areas were declared open defecation free after over three million families in over 40,000 communities in the areas met the requirement of ODF protocol for hygiene promotion.
The minister said, some of the conditions for attaining the ODF status include: communities must have eliminated open defecation by 100 percent toilet use and increased ownership and sustainability of hygiene and sanitation services.
This death toll occurs two days after the Enugu state government confirmed that seven people died from the bacteria infection in a market.
The Enugu State Ministry of Health said there was a cholera outbreak in New Artisan Market, Enugu, which caused the death of seven persons in the market with 19 people identified with the symptoms of stooling and vomiting.
The State Health Commissioner, Obi, said, “the ill persons identified within the area were immediately and safely evacuated to the state teaching hospital and are receiving treatment, while health education on safe and hygienic practices were given to the inhabitants of the market.
“Further tests carried out by the State Ministry of Health at the Teaching Hospital revealed that all the persons were suffering from cholera.”
He explained that cholera “is an infection caused by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Risk factors are from poor sanitation, and contaminated drinking water.
“The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Symptoms range from none, to mild, to severe.
“Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and even death. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.
“It is prevented by improvements in sanitation, use of clean water, hand washing and vaccines. Treatment involves replacement of lost body fluids orally or intravenously, zinc supplementation and antibiotics,” he said.
Between January and June 27, a total of 14,343 suspected cholera cases and 325 deaths, including 345 laboratory-confirmed cases, were reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.