Six people have died and scores infected with a cholera outbreak in northern Nigeria's Kano State, the state health commissioner said Sunday, although a local charity reported a higher toll.
"Six people died out of the 46 cases recorded," Abubakar Labaran Yusuf told AFP of the outbreak this week in Kafin Dalawa village, 70 kilometres (43 miles) outside the state capital of Kano.
Contaminated water in the area was the most likely cause, he said, adding that teams had been dispatched to clean water sources and supply drugs.
But a local medical charity put the toll higher, saying at least 16 people had died and the outbreak was threatening to become a pandemic.
"We have recorded 16 deaths from the cholera outbreak in the past six days, which has so far infected 701 people with 20 severe cases," Surajo Alkassim of ISMA Medicare Initiatives told AFP.
He said the organisation had been treating patients in a make-shift hospital in the village since the outbreak.
"The outbreak is becoming a pandemic in the area because patients are trooping from neighbouring villages, which is putting a strain on our team and medical supplies," Alkassim said.
Cholera, a highly contagious intestinal infection, is transmitted by water soiled by human waste. The disease leads to diarrhoea, dehydration and death if untreated.
Outbreaks are most common during the rainy season, which roughly runs from April to October in Nigeria.