A total of 922 cholera cases have so far been recorded in Nigeria and 32 of them succumbed to the disease in 2023.

This is according to the latest situation report obtained from the World Health Organisation.

The Case Fatality Rate is at 3.5 per cent as of March 5, 2023.

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The WHO noted that the data include the suspected positive rapid diagnostic tests and laboratory-confirmed cholera cases.

It said the case and death numbers presented are unreliable due to differences in reporting systems and underreporting.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria. People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.

As of March 20, 2023, at least 24 countries continue to report cholera cases. With reference to historical transmission patterns and seasonality, large parts of the world are currently in low or interepidemic transmission periods, therefore this number could increase in the months to come.

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The mortality associated with the outbreaks is of particular concern as many countries reported higher case-fatality ratios than in previous years.

Also, the situation report obtained from the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention showed that there were 157 confirmed cases of meningitis in the country from October 2022 till March 5, 2023.

A total of 628 suspected cases of meningitis, including 52 deaths, have been reported from 21 states and 66 Local Government Areas in the country.

Meanwhile, the CFR stands at 8.3 per cent.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, a thin layer of the connective tissue that covers the brain and the spinal cord. The common signs and symptoms are fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, neck stiffness, and altered consciousness level.

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The report read in part, “Age group 5 -14 years was the most affected age group. Males were 62 per cent, females were 38 per cent.

“Ninety-One per cent of all cumulative cases were from four states – Jigawa (509 cases), Bauchi (23 cases), Zamfara (22 cases), and Oyo (14 cases).

“Ten LGAs across five states, Jigawa (7), Bauchi (1), Oyo (1), Plateau (1) and Zamfara (1), reported more than five cases each this CSM seasons 2022/2023.”

A medical laboratory scientist at the Department of Microbiology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Obinna Chukwudi expressed worry over the country’s poor preparedness in tackling disease outbreaks.

“The Cholera and Meningitis outbreaks in recent times give a clear picture of the degree of our preparedness and containment strategies for more dangerous emergency disease outbreaks in the future.

“The government on the other hand is not left behind because judging from the aetiology of these diseases, you will notice that it is more of the socio-economic levels of the people which put them at a higher risk of getting infected. I advise that the government with advice from experts in the health system should intensify its approaches to implementing more policies that would better the health and well-being of the people.

“A multifaceted approach including public policy, surveillance, water purification and hygiene, community sensitisation, and the use of vaccines is vital to prevent, control, and reduce cholera and meningitis menace in the affected states,” he said.

Also, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi said there is a need for joint efforts between the government and the people to fight diseases.

“The government and the people need to work together. There is a need for increased awareness and people need to report to the hospitals once they notice the symptoms.”