Cholera Outbreak: 7 People Dead, 19 others Sick in Enugu
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Cholera Outbreak: 7 People Dead, 19 others Sick in Enugu

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Seven people have died and 19 sick persons identified with symptoms of what has been confirmed by Enugu State Ministry of Health to be Cholera outbreak in New Artisan Market, Enugu on Friday.

According to a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, the Ministry upon receiving reports of the incident, carried out an immediate investigation and discovered that the patients had sudden onset of loose stool passage and vomiting which are symptoms of Cholera disease.

Dr. Obi disclosed that it was discovered that the illness had resulted in the death of the seven persons as they had similar symptoms.

“The Enugu State Ministry of health received reports of deaths occurring suddenly, after a short spell of illness, on Friday morning, the 16th of July 2021 around the New Artisan livestock market in  Enugu State.

“Upon immediate investigation by the Ministry of Health’s rapid response team, it was observed that the patients presented with sudden onset of passage of loose stool and vomiting. It was revealed that the illness had resulted in the death of seven persons, and that subsequently, several others numbering about 19 were ill with the same symptoms of loose stools and vomiting,” Dr. Obi stated.

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The Health Commissioner added that “the ill persons identified within the area were immediately and safely evacuated to the state teaching hospital and are receiving treatment, while health education on safe and hygienic practices were given to the inhabitants of the market.

“Further tests carried out by the State Ministry of Health at the teaching hospital revealed that all the persons were suffering from Cholera. Samples were collected for further confirmatory tests of this finding.”
He noted that surveillance, contact tracing and risk assessment have commenced at the market and its environs, adding that the Enugu State Ministry of Health Emergency Operations Centre for Cholera outbreak response will commence operation on Saturday 17th July to ensure that the disease is prevented from spreading in the state and beyond.

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The Commissioner explained that Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease of the small intestine, “caused by strains of bacterium Vibrio cholera,” typically contracted from infected water supplies, poor sanitation, and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea, often leading to sudden death.

“The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Symptoms range from none, to mild, to severe. Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and even death. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure,” he explained.

On prevention of the disease, he stated that “it is prevented by improvements in sanitation, use of clean water, hand washing and vaccines,” adding that “treatment involves replacement of lost body fluids orally or intravenously, zinc supplementation and antibiotics.”

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The commissioner who commiserated with those that lost their loved ones through the disease, enjoined members of the public to adopt safety measures in preventing contact with the disease, while assuring them that “the situation is under control and the Enugu State Ministry of Health will keep the public informed on future developments.”

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