Public Health Expert Outlines 5 Basic Must-do’s To Avoid Contracting Cholera 

According to the World Health Organization, health authorities in Nigeria declared a cholera outbreak in Lagos on June 15, 2024, with 436 suspected cases reported. Within six days, the number of suspected cases exceeded 500, including 43 confirmed cases, with a 5.4% case fatality rate among suspected cases.

Recent reports indicate the outbreak’s spread, with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recording 53 cholera-related deaths and 1,528 suspected cases across 31 states and 107 local government areas as of June 24, 2024, marking a 3.5% case fatality rate since the beginning of the year. 

Globally, researchers estimate annual cholera cases range from 1.3 to 4.0 million, resulting in 21,000 to 143,000 deaths, primarily affecting individuals with mild or no symptoms who can be effectively treated with oral rehydration solutions.

With cases reported in crowded areas and prisons, educating Nigerians on cholera prevention has become crucial. Speaking at a recent health-promoting event, Dr. Oche Otorkpa, a public health expert and Executive Director of Public Health Nigeria, emphasized the importance of promoting hygienic practices at all times. He outlined five essential practices to prevent contracting cholera:

1. Practice Good Hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and clean water, especially before handling food, after using the toilet, and after caring for cholera patients. Use hand sanitizers if soap and water are unavailable.

2. Ensure Safe Water and Food: Drink only safe water that has been boiled, treated, or chlorinated. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood, and thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating. He emphasized that these are no times for indiscriminate purchase of snacks and foods from unhygienic street vendors. 

3. Maintain Sanitary Conditions: Properly dispose of human waste to prevent water source contamination. Use latrines or toilets and avoid open defecation. Always keep living and cooking areas clean.

4. Promote Community Awareness: Educate family and community members about cholera symptoms, such as severe diarrhea and vomiting, and encourage prompt medical care if symptoms occur.

By following these basic guidelines, outlined by Dr. Otorkpa individuals and communities can significantly reduce their risk of contracting cholera and help health authorities control outbreaks within their communities.

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