Cholera Epidemic Not OverNigeria
Lagos—Contrary to earlier reports that the cholera outbreak was under control in the country, latest revelations indicate that the cholera threat may be far from over.
This is because findings in some of the affected areas revealed that response to the epidemic might have been overwhelmed by the magnitude and severity of the disease outbreak
Director General of the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, NIMR, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who briefed newsmen yesterday, said there was need for intensified support from public-spirited individuals and all stakeholders in the interest of the lives of those at risk.
Ujah, who commended government efforts so far, however, regretted that the problem was overwhelming.
He said:“Government and other agencies are helping to respond but we are overwhelmed by the number of cases and the severity of the condition.
We are doing the best we can but it is clearly overwhelming and I think that is where we need to cry out for support to be able to overcome the seriousness of lives being lost, which have no replacement.”
He added that preliminary studies carried out by the NIMR team that visited two of the affected States, Borno and Bauchi said the strains found in the areas were virulent in nature.
Ujah noted that already the Institute was planing to conduct more research on the strains on the molecular level with a view to ensuring better response preparedness in the future.
He regretted that their findings also showed that the strains were also resistant to some antibiotics. According to him, in Bauchi, findings showed 10 per cent resistance to the commonest and cheapest drug, Tetracyline used for the treatment of diseases like cholera.
He added: “Unfortunately, we discovered that 10 percent of the people in Borno State were resistant to the drug and this is a big problem for a drug like tetracycline. 10 per cent is a large number and this means that these people must change to another drug. But in an emergency situation, you may not have the luxury of going to look for another drug.”
Blaming the epidemic on what he described as ‘environmental disaster in the areas,’ Ujah said the level of preparedness in the areas was very poor, adding: “The environment in most of the places visited is a disaster.
We took samples of such areas for further investigations. It is a manifestation of unhygienic environment. There are lots of hazards and there is another problem of potable water in the communities.”
Advocating the need to bring back sanitary inspectors in the villages and communities, he advised that Nigerians should learn to keep to personal hygiene, particularly by simply washing their hands which alone can prevent many diseases; give intravenous fluid immediately a patient is affected, as well as antibiotics like Tetrecyline and boil their water before drinking.
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