Chronicling Cholera’s Carnage Part 2

Continuing from last post, it’s evident that the sheer scale of the reported number of lives lost to cholera outbreaks from 2007 – 2013 is a show of the public health burden that food-borne illness places on Nigeria. Again, I need to mention that the mortality and incident reports below and in the previous posts are not official government statistics, they are media reports nevertheless they are good indications of the scale of the problem.

The problem of food-borne illness is real, very real, even if it’s not getting the attention it deserves in public discourse and government policy making when compared to the attention other public health issues like Cancer, Malaria & HIV/AIDS get. A lot of work needs to be done, a lot of ground needs to be covered in reducing the public health burden of food-borne illness in this country starting from creating more awareness about the existence of the problem and encouraging discussion in the public domain about it.

All Reports Sourced From: Safe Food International

January 2009 – At least 3 people were killed and 35 others hospitalized following the suspected outbreak of cholera at Dokogi village in Nigeria’s Niger state, the News Agency of Nigeria reported on Sunday [11 Jan 2009]. The villagers had alerted the authorities after a resident died from diarrhea and vomiting. An eyewitness claimed that more people reported their cases as the situation worsened, leading to the death of 2 more people. He said the council later mobilized its medical personnel, including those of the Federal Medical Center, Bida, to control the spread of the disease.

January 2009 – No fewer than 27 children between the ages of 4 and 10 years were reported dead on Tuesday [14 Jan 2009] at Ndiagu-Anagu in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State as a result of suspected outbreak of severe gastroenteritis, otherwise known as cholera.According to a reliable source, the mysterious deaths which started few weeks ago have ravaged the rural community where children between the ages of 1 to 10 years were said to have been affected and are in critical condition.

January 2009 – Sunday Nwangele, Ebonyi state commissioner for health announced in Abakaliki that 6 of the dead were male and 9 female including 5 children. He attributed the outbreak, which infected some 120 persons, to intake of contaminated water following the breakdown of the three boreholes in the area.Local last week [week of 12 Jan 2009] reported that at least 41 children died of gastroenteritis in another community in southeastern Nigeria’s Ebonyi State. The disease was said to have started some weeks ago and to have gradually grown into epidemic with children between one to 10 being the most affected, with some in critical condition.

August 2009 – A cholera outbreak has claimed 39 lives in northern Nigeria’s Adamawa state in the past week, a senior local official said on Tuesday [18 Aug 2009].
The official was quoted as saying the outbreak killed a family, including a 52-year-old man, his wife and child, and that 36 other people also died.

August 2009 – A cholera outbreak in Adamawa State, northern Nigeria has killed 13 more people, taking the death toll to 52, the health commissioner said on Saturday. 39 people were reported killed by the disease in Maiha, according to a local government official. He said “scores of people” had been hospitalized as a result of the disease, stressing that an ongoing strike by medical workers in the state was hampering efforts to assist the sick.

September 2009 – At least 76 persons have been confirmed dead from a suspected outbreak of an epidemic of cholera in about 7 local government councils of Adamawa state.
The disease, which manifests with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and mild fever, is ravaging communities in 7 local government areas of Mubi, north and south, Maiha, Michika, Madagali, Girie, and Hong in the northern part of the state.
So far, 76 people have died, while 846 are receiving treatment at the various state health establishments.

September 2009 – Nine people died and several others were hospitalized this week following a cholera outbreak in Nigeria’s northern Taraba State, bringing the death toll in the region to 97, an official was quoted as saying.
On Wednesday [31 Sep 2009] health officials in Jigawa State, also in the region, announced the death of 11 people following an outbreak of cholera in Bashuri village where 400 cases emerged in under a fortnight.
Cholera has claimed 77 lives in recent weeks in Adamawa State, leaving nearly 1000 people hospitalized.

September 2009 – 23 of the 600 people who recently contracted cholera in the Biu Local Government area of Borno State are dead, the director of disease control in the Borno State ministry of health was quoted as saying. A source at the ministry of health said the disease has spread to 6 out of the 9 local government areas of southern Borno. The state has also recorded a total of 32 death from it.

October 2009 – Some 300 people died and many more are hospitalized due to an outbreak of cholera reported since mid-month in Adamawa State in northern Nigeria, sources were quoted as saying.

October 2009 – The toll in a cholera outbreak in northern Nigeria rose to 149 Friday [16 Oct 2009] with 52 more deaths, a provincial health official said. He said Biu local government on the border with Chad was the worst affected area where 650 were infected, forcing health officials to open a camp for the victims.

October 2009 – Cholera has claimed 77 lives in recent weeks in Adamawa State, leaving nearly 1000 people hospitalized.

October 2009 – Late September 2009, officials in Jigawa State announced the death of 11 people in a cholera outbreak which affected 400 others at a village outside the state capital.

October 2009 – In Taraba state, a neighbor of Adamawa, another cholera outbreak killed 9 people and infected 120 others.

November 2009 – A fresh cholera outbreak has killed 20 people and left 200 others infected in northern Nigeria’s Adamawa State in the past week, a senior health official said Wednesday [4 Nov 2009]. The latest deaths take to 169 the number of those killed by the disease in 4 northern states, Adamawa, Jigawa, Taraba, and Borno, in the past 3 months.

January 2010 – Six persons were confirmed dead on 18 Jan 2010, while 78 others were hospitalized following an outbreak of cholera at Opobo town in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government of Rivers State.

August 2011 – Cases of cholera have been reported in Oyo State, with 4 deaths and 16 hospitalizations.

August 2011 – The people of Osun State are living in fear due to the outbreak of cholera that has claimed 8 lives in the state. It has been reported that there are no medical officials that could come aid the people because of the ongoing strike by medical practitioners in the state.

September 2011 – The Health Commissioner announced that 6 deaths from cholera in the past 2 weeks that infected 182 people. Local media reports 234 deaths occurred in 15 Nigerian states in 2011. The rainy seasons are generally responsible for the occurrence of the disease in Nigeria.

June 2013 – The Nigerian Ministry of Health reports, that in the second week of June, 2013, there were 22 new cases of cholera in the country: seven cholera cases were suspected in Kwara, and 15 cases were reported in Kaduna and Zamfara. No deaths were reported.

August 2013 – Cholera is endemic in Ogun State, Nigeria, and outbreaks are common in the rainy season; this summer is no exception. In the month of July, outbreaks have been confirmed throughout the state including 104 cases in Soyinka, 76 cases in Abeokuta South, 25 cases in Abeokuta North, 2 cases in Odeda, and 1 case in Obafemi Owode. In total, three deaths have been recorded. Government health officials have implemented control efforts to contain the epidemic, but outbreaks show little sign of slowing.

September 2013 – Nigeria regularly experiences cholera outbreaks during the rainy season, and 2013 has been no different. Currently, 8 people have died from the disease in Oyo State, while 10 more are hospitalized with the disease. Nigeria’s sanitation infrastructure is often overwhelmed by rainy seasons rains, spreading contaminated water.

October 2013 – States across Nigeria have begun to report new cases of cholera, overwhelming hospitals and raising concern for large-scale casualties. In the past two weeks, Zamfara case has recorded 1,117 cases of the disease and 72 deaths. Sources caution that these numbers are underestimations, and do not properly reflect the extent of the outbreak in Zamfara; other states, such as Gusau and Zurmi, Maradun and Bakura, report as many as 90 new cases a day, per state—although such reports are unconfirmed by government sources.

October 2013 – As many as 130 people are ill, and two have died, as a recent cholera outbreak continues in Zamfara, Nigeria, reports Doctors without Borders.

Chronicling Cholera’s Carnage Part 1

Few days ago I put up a post about the cholera outbreak that occurred this year. Knowing that cholera outbreak is a seasonal self-repeating vicious cycle I made further checks to uncover how bad the cholera cycles has been. Below are some of the media reports for cholera outbreaks from 2007 – 2012 that my checks turned up:

These are not official statistics, they are only reports in the news relating to cholera outbreaks but they are indicative of the sheer scale of recurring casualties we suffer in this country from cholera outbreaks.

All Reports Sourced From: Safe Food International

October 2007 – A total of 5 persons have lost their lives from a suspected outbreak of cholera in parts of Makurdi, the Benue state capital. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that communities where deaths have been recorded included Idye Village, Logo 2, and Wadata suburb of Makurdi, areas where pipe-borne-water could be regarded as “liquid gold.” At a hospital in Wadata suburb, which is host to Hausa community resident in Makurdi, a medical doctor told newsmen that the hospital recorded the death of a 12-year-old girl on Sat 6 Oct 2007. The doctor added that the hospital was inundated on a daily basis with people who might have contracted the disease and warned people to be cautious about the water they drank and food they ate.

October 2007 – No fewer than 5 persons, including 2 women, 2 children and a middle-aged man, were killed in Bauchi Sun 7 Oct 2007, by cholera. The Secretary to the state’s branch of the Nigerian Red Cross confirmed the deaths. He told newsmen in Bauchi that about 35 other persons had been infected by the epidemic, adding that the victims were currently responding to treatment at the Specialist Hospital, Bauchi. The Secretary said also that a special unit had been created at the hospital for the treatment of infected persons. He added that the epidemic was more pronounced in Gwallaga, Korar Ran, Kofar Durmi, and Bakin Kura areas of the metropolis. He attributed the outbreak to poor sanitary condition in the metropolis, adding that the various flood disasters experienced in the area in 2007, had also contributed to the outbreak.

November 2007 – According to this story, at least 14 people have died and scores of others are hospitalized following an outbreak of cholera in the central Nigerian state of Plateau, a government official said on Thu 29 Nov 2007. The Commissioner for Health said the waterborne disease broke out in the remote district of Bokkos last week [19-25 Nov 2007] but was reported late to the authorities as when it started, the affected people thought it was a strange ailment and refused to go to hospital.

December 2007 – According to this story, the people of Ajakajak community in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have cried out to the state government to rescue them from a cholera outbreak, which has claimed the lives of more than 11 children. A local source reported that the outbreak was spreading to some other communities in the area. Other sources from Ajakajak informed that records at the community’s health centre confirmed that the figure given was for last week alone and that more cases had come in this week. It was gathered that the epidemic was spreading very fast and that about 30 persons had died so far. “It was on Nov. 30 this year when 72 pupils started purging and vomiting after eating the relief food,” said the commissioner who added that samples of the relief food had been taken to the government chief chemist in Dar es Salaam for analysis.

January 2008 – as a result of an outbreak of cholera in Gbajimba, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, 10 persons have been confirmed dead. The state Ministry of Health on Tuesday [1 Jan 2008] confirmed the outbreak of the epidemic and the number of lives lost to it.

February 2008 – Scores of children have been hospitalized in various hospitals in Asaba, Delta State and neighboring towns following an outbreak of cholera especially in riverine communities of the state

February 2008 – over 60 children between the ages of 1-2 have reportedly died of a cholera epidemic in northern Cross River state. The incident, which occurred 3 weeks ago, has been attributed to drinking of contaminated water. The deaths occurred in Ogoja and its environs. The epidemic in Yala, Obudu, Mbube, Bekwara, and Ogoja main towns is attributable to shortage of water supply to the people resulting to the use of water from ponds, streams, and gutters for domestic use and drinking. The Medical Superintendent of General Hospital in Ogoja confirmed the epidemic.

March 2008 – According to this story, around 50 people have died in recent weeks of cholera in central Nigeria’s Benue state out of some 150 infected, the press quoted health officials as saying Sunday [30 Mar 2008]. Local newspapers said that the state capital Makurdi was worst hit by the disease which broke out in February 2008. A State health commissioner attributed the cause of the disease to drinking contaminated water. He said medical officials and drugs had been sent to the affected areas to treat the victims as well as contain the spread of the disease.

April 2008 – According to this story, at least 116 female students in northern Nigeria have been hospitalized with cholera after consuming contaminated beans, a health official said Monday [21 Apr 2008].The affected students, who attend a secondary boarding school in Gombe state, [developed symptoms] hours after eating lunch, said the permanent secretary in the Gombe state health ministry. State authorities reacted by banning beans at all boarding schools, pending the outcome of laboratory tests of the contaminated beans by Nigeria’s food and drug regulatory agency NAFDAC (National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control).

July 2008 – A medical source at Gambo Sawaba General Hospital said that six persons reportedly died from cholera, while no fewer than 30 were currently receiving treatment. The affected areas were Gyallesu, Tudun Wada, Unguwar Alfadarai, and Kusfa in Zaria council area. The head of the health department in the Zaria local government confirmed that only two persons died as a result of the outbreak and quoting from official records, he added that in Zaria six people were being treated in the hospital. According to local sources, the cholera outbreak can be attributed to lack of good drinking water and poor health services in the affected communities.

September 2008 – Local government officials say cholera outbreaks across Katsina, Zamfara, Bauchi, and Kano states in northern Nigeria have killed 97 people in the past 2 weeks, making it the worst outbreak in the north for several years, according to an official from National Primary Healthcare Agency (NPHA) in Abuja. More than 60 people have died in Zamfara state in the past 2 weeks, according to the Zamfara’s state commissioner for religious affairs. He said the death toll may be higher as reports of new infections are still coming in. In Katsina state in the villages of Makadawa and Kagadama, 20 people, mostly women and children, have died while 30 others have been hospitalized according to local government chairman Masur Usman Murnai. Another 9 people have died in Nabardo village in Bauchi state since 13 Sep [2008], with 40 more affected, according to a primary health care coordinator. The Kano State’s health told IRIN 5 people have died of cholera in the state within the past week.

September 2008 – no fewer than 5 people were feared dead as a result of an outbreak of cholera in some local government areas of Kano state. Although the disease is yet to assume epidemic status, the State Commissioner for Health said her ministry had swung into action to tackle the situation. She attributed the development to the consumption of unhygienic foods or drinks, describing such foods to include vegetable salads and fruits and contaminated food and water, which, if not properly prepared, could become vehicles for the infection and spread of cholera.

October 2008 – no fewer than 21 people have been reported dead in some villages in Kware and Wamakko local government areas of Sokoto State. The breakdown from health officials in the affected local government areas shows that 14 people died in Kware while 7 died in Wamakko local government area. It is reported that in Maruda village of Kware, 13 children and an adult died from the disease while the director of health in Wamakko local government confirmed the death of 7 people in the area. Meanwhile, the state commissioner of information has confirmed that only 2 people lost their lives at the hospital “and that is the only figure we have officially but I am not overruling a number of deaths outside the hospital.” The commissioner said the outbreak was reported in 12 local government areas of the state “but only 3 are now having reported cases.” The 3 local governments are, Kware, Dange Shuni, and Wamakko.

October 2008 – Following an outbreak of cholera in Zonkwa, headquarters of Zangon Kataf local government area of Kaduna State, about 9 persons have reportedly lost their lives within one week; and it is reported that the number might have increased.

October 2008 – According to this story, cholera and diarrhea have hit Zone ‘F’ preliminary games camp of the 16th Nigeria College of Education Games (NICEGA) being held at the Federal College of Education in Gombe, with no fewer than 5 participants in serious condition.

December 2008 – It is reported that an outbreak of cholera in the riverine community of Kula in Nigeria’s Rivers state killed 10 people, a health official said. “We have already dispatched a medical team to the area with the necessary drugs and materials to curtail the spread of the disease” Dr. Samson Parker, Rivers state’s commissioner for health, said in an interview in Port Harcourt today. Residents have been told to boil water for drinking until other arrangements can be made, he said.

December 2008 – an outbreak of cholera in the Egbagi Majin village in Kede district of Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State has reportedly claimed 8 lives, one of them being the wife of the village head. A majority of those who died, according to a report from the village, were women. Nigerian Tribune has learned that about 15 others were hospitalized as a result of the outbreak. According to a source in the area, the outbreak could have been as a result of contaminated water being drunk by the villagers who were just relocating after a flood disaster 2 months ago.

Continues on Next Post.