Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, confirmed on Sunday that 25 cases of severe gastroenteritis, caused by cholera, were reported at Kirikiri Medium Security Prison. This announcement contradicts the Nigerian Correctional Service’s (NCoS) claim on June 26, 2024, that custodial centers nationwide were free of cholera.

NCoS spokesman Abubakar Umar had previously asserted that routine hygienic measures kept cholera at bay in correctional facilities. However, Prof. Abayomi’s statement, signed by the Director of Public Affairs at the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, detailed a “small outbreak of 25 cases of severe gastroenteritis confirmed to be caused by cholera” and noted that urgent medical and environmental measures had been implemented successfully.

In addition, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) recorded 118 suspected cholera cases in Katsina State. According to NCDC data, as of June 24, 2024, there were 1,528 suspected cholera cases, 65 confirmed cases, and 53 deaths across 107 local government areas in 31 states, with a case fatality rate of 3.5% since the beginning of the year. The most affected states include Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, and Lagos.

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of a multi-sectoral cabinet committee, led by Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare Prof. Ali Pate, to control the epidemic. Speaking on the Lagos outbreak, Prof. Abayomi reported that no new cholera-related deaths had been reported in the last 72 hours, as government efforts to curb transmission intensified.

Abayomi also detailed measures taken at Kirikiri Medium Prison, including the provision of intravenous fluids, infection prevention materials, and other health consumables. The World Health Organization has donated 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals to support prison health facilities. Immediate water and sanitation issues have been addressed, and inspections of other correctional facilities in the state are ongoing.

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Investigations traced the original outbreak to unregulated street beverages and contaminated water supply. Samples taken from popular street beverages in the affected areas confirmed the presence of Vibrio cholerae bacteria. The Lagos State Directorate of Environmental Health is planning to seal any unregulated manufacturing units and make arrests related to the production and distribution of beverages without NAFDAC accreditation.

In Katsina, Dr. Kabir Suleiman, Director of Epidemiology at the Katsina State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said 118 suspected cholera cases returned negative. The state remains prepared for any emergency, with equipped facilities and trained rapid response teams.

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Similarly, Kaduna State’s Primary Health Care Board reported no cholera cases. The board’s Incident Manager, Dr. Abdullahi Musa, said the state had reactivated its rapid response team and identified facilities for diagnosing cholera cases. The state government is also supporting water purification efforts.

Kano State also reported no cholera cases, despite being listed among the affected states by the NCDC. Kano’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran, stated that the state had taken proactive measures, including public awareness campaigns and activating the Emergency Preparedness Response committee.

The NCDC Director-General, Dr. Jide Idris, emphasized the importance of proper waste disposal and sanitation practices to prevent water contamination and subsequent outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera.

In Ogun State, the Managing Director of the Ogun State Waste Management Authority, Abayomi Hunye, urged residents to containerize their waste to facilitate collection and disposal, thereby preventing environmental contamination and the spread of diseases.