By Bartholomew Madukwe
IN Borno State, cholera has claimed no fewer than 23 lives with 530 suspected cases, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said yesterday.
The UN agency added in a statement that a cholera outbreak was first reported by the state’s Ministry of Health, adding that the first case was recorded on August 16.
OCHA said: “Over 530 suspected cases had been registered as of September 5, including 23 deaths (4.3 percent fatality rate).
“The outbreak is mainly in Muna Garage, a camp hosting at least 20,000 internally-displaced persons, IDPs, on the outskirts of the state capital, Maiduguri. Although most cases have been identified in Muna Garage camp, others have been identified in Custom House, Ruwan Zafi and Bolori II, all camps located near Muna Garage.
“There have also been reports of a suspected cholera outbreak in Monguno and Dikwa Local Government areas, North-East and East of Maiduguri, respectively.”
The latest figures suggested a 4.3 percent fatality rate—well above the one percent rate that the World Health Organisation, WHO, rates as an emergency.
The short incubation period of two hours to five days means the disease can spread with explosive speed.
However, the State Ministry of Health, the Rural Water and Sanitation Agency and humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies, are responding to the outbreak, OCHA said.
The UN agency added that an Emergency Operational Centre had been set up to manage the response, adding that the Ministry of Health has established one 30-bed Cholera Treatment Centre with the support of humanitarian partners in Muna Garage camp.
OCHA said two Oral Rehydration Points had been set up in Muna Garage, while health organisations were also carrying out risk communications, including making regular and frequent visits to households to encourage individuals with cholera-like symptoms to be screened.
It added: “By communicating at household level in this way, health partners have visited more than 1,300 households which resulted in the identification of 53 suspected cases of cholera.
“Hygiene promoters have carried out door-to-door hygiene sensitisation and have distributed chlorination tablets.
“In addition, special interventions are being undertaken to prevent spread of cholera in the markets where people buy food.”