WHO flags red alert for cholera, hepatitis E outbreaks in Nigeria


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised red alert for acute outbreaks of cholera and hepatitis E in Nigeria.

The WHO blamed the cholera outbreaks on lack of access to clean drinking water and poor hygiene conditions, and the hepatitis E epidemic on the on-going humanitarian crisis in north-eastern Nigeria.

The WHO said it was notified of a cholera outbreak in Kwara State, where the event currently remains localised.

The first cases of acute watery diarrhoea were reported during the last week of April 2017 and a sharp increase in the number of cases and deaths has been observed since May 1, 2017.

However, the number of new cases reported has shown a decline over the last four reporting weeks.

According to the WHO, as of June 30, 2017, a total of 1558 suspected cases of cholera have been reported including 11 deaths (case fatality rate: 0.7 per cent).

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Thirteen of these cases were confirmed by culture in laboratory.

50 per cent of the suspected cases reported are male and 49 per cent are female (information for gender is missing for one per cent of the suspected cases).

The disease is affecting all age groups

WHO, in a statement, said between May 1 and June 30, 2017, suspected cholera cases in Kwara State were reported from five local government areas; Asa (18), Ilorin East (450), Ilorin South (215), Ilorin West (780), and Moro (50) (information for local government areas is missing for 45 of the suspected cases).

“Poor sanitation conditions observed in the affected communities are one of the predisposing factors for this cholera outbreak. An important risk factor is the lack of access to clean drinking water and poor hygiene conditions,” the United Nation (UN) apex health body noted.

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According to the WHO, the Nigerian Ministry of Health notified her of an outbreak of hepatitis E located in the north-east region of the country on June 18, 2017.

The first case was detected on May 3, 2017 in Damasak, a locality at the border with the Republic of the Niger.

Sample were collected from the case and sent to laboratory for confirmation.

Cases were later reported in Ngala, one of the local government areas in Borno State that borders Cameroon. As of July 2, 2017, 146 confirmed and suspected cases were reported including 21 confirmed cases.

Source: The Guardian