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Lagos traces cholera outbreak to unregistered tiger nut drink

THE Lagos State Government has said its officials traced the current cholera outbreak in the state to the consumption of unregistered tiger nut drink sold in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area (LGA).

Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, disclosed this in an interview with PUNCH published on Saturday, June 22.

Ogunyemi said the discovery was made during investigations conducted by the Ministries of Health and Environment following the outbreak.

“We carried out a survey and found that the common denominator, which was one of the deadly factors, was a tiger nut drink. People who came to the hospitals all identified that they had drunk tiger nut drink. We couldn’t just take their word for it, so we had to take that drink and test it to see what was in it.

“We immediately sent people out to look for those selling it so we could take a sample. We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables,” Ogunyemi said.

She also disclosed that there were other contributory factors to the outbreak including open defecation and a lack of potable water.

Lagos Island, Eti-Osa and Kosofe LGAs had the highest number of persons who reported to the hospital upon noticing symptoms of cholera.

Ogunyemi said the first symptom of the disease is usually abdominal pain, followed by diarrhoea. Other symptoms may include fever, vomiting and muscle pain.

She warned Nigerians to desist from self-medication upon noticing such symptoms, but report immediately to a hospital.

Suspected cases, deaths increased after Eid celebrations

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Suspected cases of cholera and deaths from the disease in Lagos, rose after the just concluded Eid festivities.

Ogunyemi stated that more people had shown up at hospitals with diarrhoea and vomiting following the celebrations, and some died as a result of a delay in getting medical help.

“However, we anticipated an increase after the Ileyah (Eid) celebrations, which indeed happened. Unfortunately, we also had an increase in deaths. That’s the unfortunate part. More people have died, and about three of them were already dead upon arrival from home.

“From our history, we realised they had diarrhoea and vomiting for the past two or three days, but they never came to the hospital. They were probably treating themselves locally, which we advise against. That’s how we know. We’re hoping for a decline as we continue our efforts in the community,” she said.

The ICIR reports that as of Saturday, June 21, the death toll from the disease stood at over 20 in the state and over 40 across Nigeria.

At least 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states are affected, with hundreds of cases since January.

Nigeria is one of the 13 African Countries battling cholera. The current outbreak has been ongoing since 2021, when the country reported 111,062 suspected cases, which include 3,604 deaths, according to data from NCDC.



    Cholera, an endemic disease, is still one of the major diseases affecting Nigerians, particularly in the rural region of the country.

    The disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), is an acute diarrheal infection characterised, in its severe form, by extreme watery diarrhoea and potentially fatal dehydration.

    It is largely caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

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    On Thursday, June 20, the WHO declared a global resurgence of the disease.




    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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