Cholera Outbreak Fears Intensify as Students Return to School

Cholera outbreak
Cholera outbreakgoogle

As schools reopen on Wednesday following the mid-term break and Sallah holiday, there are concerns that pupils may be at risk of contracting cholera, a water-borne disease caused by the ingestion of the vibrio cholera bacteria.

Public health experts warn that the disease, which has spread across the country, could quickly spread in schools if preventive measures are not in place.

In light of this, the Chief of UNICEF's Lagos Field Office, Celine Lafoucrier, has called for extensive measures to protect school children, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to prevent disruptions to the academic calendar due to the disease.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) recently warned the public about the increasing trend of cholera cases as the rainy season intensifies.

From January 1 to June 11, 2024, over 1,141 suspected and over 65 confirmed cases of cholera, resulting in over 30 deaths, were reported from 96 local government areas (LGAs) in 30 states.

The 10 states contributing 90% to the current cholera outbreak are Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, and Lagos.

Lafoucrier explained that children, particularly those under five, are at substantial health risks due to the disease, as they are prone to severe dehydration and higher mortality rates. Post-recovery issues in children can include malnutrition, stunted growth, and weakened immune systems, making them more susceptible to other diseases.

The UNICEF official noted that the current outbreak underscores the urgent need for improved access to clean water and sanitation in many areas.

Despite the state government's efforts to provide water to its population, the current outbreak highlights the need for the government to focus on ensuring the water provided is clean and risk-free.

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