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NCDC Confirms 2,860 Cholera Cases and 84 Deaths in Eight Months

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has released a concerning report, revealing that between January and August 27, 2023, the nation has recorded a total of 2,860 suspected cases of cholera, resulting in 84 tragic fatalities. This stark data underscores the ongoing threat posed by this infectious disease.

Spread Across 25 States and 124 Local Government Areas

The NCDC’s situation report, covering weeks 31 to 34, disclosed that cholera has cast its shadow over 25 states and has penetrated 124 Local Government Areas. The case-fatality ratio, an indicator of the severity of the outbreak, stands at 2.9 percent.

Understanding Cholera: A Persistent Public Health Concern

Cholera is a highly infectious diarrheal illness, primarily caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria. People typically contract the disease by ingesting contaminated food or water. While some individuals may experience mild symptoms or none at all, cholera can manifest as a severe, life-threatening condition.

Cholera in Nigeria: A Seasonal and Endemic Challenge

In Nigeria, cholera is an endemic and seasonal scourge, recurring annually, especially during the rainy season, and disproportionately impacting areas with inadequate sanitation facilities.

Vulnerable Age Groups and Gender Distribution

The situation report highlights that the most vulnerable age groups are those under five years of age, followed by individuals between the ages of five to 14. An analysis of the data reveals that 51 percent of the suspected cases are male, with the remaining 49 percent being female.

Affected States: The Geographical Spread

Cholera has cast a wide net across the country, affecting multiple states. These include Zamfara, Cross River, Katsina, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Niger, Abia, Jigawa, Kano, Ondo, Borno, Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau, and Gombe, among others.

Regional Breakdown: Zamfara and Cross River Bear Significant Burden

Zamfara, with 787 reported cases, takes the lead, accounting for 28 percent of all suspected cases nationwide. In Cross River State, Obubra Local Government Area reports a significant share, with 515 cases, constituting 18 percent of the total suspected cases in the country.

Notable State Contributions to Cholera Cases

The report also highlights that, among the affected states, Cross River (718 cases), Katsina (302 cases), Bayelsa (265 cases), Ebonyi (227 cases), Niger (136 cases), and Abia (118 cases) collectively account for a substantial 62 percent of all suspected cases in 2023.

Progress Compared to Previous Years

Despite the grave situation, the report does offer a glimmer of hope. Suspected cases of cholera in the current year have shown a significant decrease of 63 percent compared to the figures reported during the same period in 2022. Additionally, cumulative deaths recorded have dropped by 67 percent in 2023, highlighting some progress in addressing this persistent public health challenge.

The report underscores the urgency of ongoing efforts to combat cholera and the need for continued vigilance and comprehensive public health interventions to protect the population from this deadly disease.

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