by Savitha C Muppala on  August 26, 2010 at 11:17 PM Lifestyle News
 Cholera Epidemic Poses a Threat to the Entire Nation of Nigeria: Ministry
A cholera epidemic has claimed the life of more than 350 people in Nigeria since the beginning of the year and now poses a threat to the entire country, the health ministry said.

"Epidemiological evidence indicates that the entire country is at risk," the ministry said in a statement.

"Reports received so far from 11 states show we have recorded 6,437 cases with 352 deaths from cholera this year. Most of the outbreaks occurred in the northwest and northeast zones" of the country, it stated.

Surveys carried out by the ministry showed that less than 40 percent of the population in the affected states have access to adequate toilet facilities, the statement said.

Some 66 percent of the rural population also lacks access to safe drinking water, it said. A major cause of cholera is contaminated food or water.

Cholera causes serious diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to dehydration. With a short incubation period, it can be fatal if not treated in time.

Eighty-three people have also died of measles between January and August in 11 states, while 5,073 others have been infected, the statement said.

The ministry said that it will procure drugs and vaccines, as well as provide technical assistance to the states hit by the outbreaks. It plans to increase public awareness on symptoms and prevention.

In addition, World Health Organisation figures indicate that 42 people have died in northeastern Yobe State in the past week from a form of gastro-enteritis, characterised by vomiting and diarrhoea, which are also cholera symptoms.

Source: AFP

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