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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Lagos clarifies cause of cholera outbreak

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The Lagos State Government has clarified its position on the cause of the cholera outbreak currently ravaging the state.

News reports had earlier suggested that consumption of an unregistered tiger nut drink allegedly sold in the Eti-Osa local government area of ​​the state was responsible for the outbreak.

The reports referred to an interview that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, had with The Punch Newspaper.

However, in his reaction to the report, the Director of Public Affairs at the state Ministry of Health, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, said Ogunyemi did not reveal any findings of the state’s investigations into the causes of the outbreak.

Ogunbanwo, in a telephone interview with Newslodgeon Saturday night, said Mrs Ogunyemi was misrepresented. She said several possible sources, including tiger nut drink, were being investigated to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Tiger nuts as the main denominator

In the interview, Mrs Ogunyemi classified as a significant denominator a tigernut drink that was allegedly consumed by many of those with cholera cases in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, noting that most of them confirmed that they drank the drink before presenting cases of diarrhea and other symptoms of cholera in hospitals.

Mrs Ogunyemi said in the interview: “So when we noticed an increase in cases specifically in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of ​​Lagos, we went there to investigate. We did a survey and found that the common denominator, which was one of the deadly factors, was a tigernut drink. All the people who went to the hospitals identified that they had drunk tigernut drink. We couldn’t just take his word for it, so we had to take that drink and taste it to see what was in it. We immediately sent people to find those who were selling it so we could take a sample.

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“We found empty bottles with a name, but we discovered that it was not even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the regulatory body that guarantees the safety of consumables. There was a phone number and a name on the bottle and we started tracking. We did contact tracing, similar to what we did with COVID-19. We combed the area to ask people where they got their drinks. We couldn’t find any full bottles. We only found a few empty ones, which were of no use because we couldn’t test them. The phone number on the bottle could not be located. From our investigations, we realized that the drinks were not registered, so the producers had not gone through the processes to ensure that what they were producing was safe for public consumption. We traced it there.”

But Ms Ogunyemi added that since cholera is a water-borne disease, the government has continued to test the water, food and faeces of patients with symptoms, particularly those who had not taken antibiotics before coming. to hospitals.

Background

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, has been devastated in recent days by a cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 20 lives out of nearly 500 suspected cases.

The state Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, on Saturday morning announced an increase in the number of deaths recorded from the disease, noting that cases have been recorded in 20 local government areas (LGAs) in the state.

Until now, rumors had spread throughout the city, especially on social media, that the devastating disease could be related to the consumption of tigernut drinks. The State immediately dispelled the rumor, insisting that investigations were still being carried out to unravel the causes of the event.

However, reports on Saturday suggested that the state had confirmed the cause of the illness.

The government reacts

In his reaction, Ogunbanwo said no state government official had made such a statement in a definitive tone.

He said: “Neither the Governor’s Special Advisor on Health nor any state government official gave any such conclusion. What the SA said was that the State is investigating everything, including water, food and drink. There is no conclusion yet.”

wave of anger

In her interview with Punch newspaper, Mrs. Ogunyemi noted that the disease spread across the state during the Eid festivities.

He said more people went to hospitals with diarrhea and vomiting after the celebrations, while some died as a result of the delay in getting medical help.

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

“However, we anticipated an increase after the Ileyah celebrations, which indeed occurred. Unfortunately, we also had an increase in deaths.

“From our story, we realized that they had diarrhea and vomiting for the last two or three days, but they never came to the hospital. They probably treated themselves locally, which we advise against. That’s how we know it. We expect a decrease as we continue our efforts in the community,” he said.

He warned the population to desist from self-medication and go to a medical center when they notice symptoms of the disease.

Disease data

The LGAs of Lagos Island, Eti-Osa and Kosofe had the highest number of people who went to hospital after noticing symptoms of cholera.

Suspected cholera cases in Lagos increased to 423 after the state recorded six additional new infections on Thursday, June 20.

State officials released the new data just 24 hours after previously announcing an increase in recorded deaths from the disease.

Currently, 24 deaths and 35 confirmed infections have been recorded out of 417 suspected cases in 20 LGAs, including Eti Osa.

Apart from Eti Osa, cases have been reported in Agege, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Epe, Ikorodu, Ojo and Alimosho.

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