The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday charged Nigerians on the need to maintain high hygiene to prevent either outbreak of Cholera or its spread within communities of their abode.
The agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave the charge in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Ihekweazu said that the warning became imperative because the deadly cholera disease was prevalent during the rainy season.
He said the disease, which causes acute watery diarrhea in children and adults, could kill the patient within hours, if left untreated.
While stressing that cholera was endemic in Nigeria, he said that there was an increase in the number of cases during the rainy season, usually between April and September.
He noted that a patient could be infected when he or she drank contaminated water infected by the bacteria, saying that the solution to preventing cholera was in providing potable drinking water.
”Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera, which is found in the stool of an infected person and spreads to other people when they consume contaminated food or water.
”Cholera transmission is more common in areas with overcrowding, poor sanitation and hygiene practices, lack of clean food and water, and areas where open defecation is a common practice.
”The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Most people who have been infected may not show symptoms or have mild symptoms,’’ he said.
The NCDC boss added, however, that “Cholera is an easily treatable disease, if detected early.
”Most infected people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and supportive treatment,” he said.
Ihekweazu said that to reduce the spread of cholera, Nigerians were advised to at all times, take precautionary measures in their hygiene lifestyles.
He asked Nigerians to ”ensure water is well boiled before drinking and bottled water is properly sealed and to store boiled water in a clean and safe container.
“Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
”Ensure all food is well cooked before consumption. Avoid raw foods such as fruits and vegetables, except you have washed them in safe water or peeled them yourself.
”Avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping and ensure proper disposal of waste and clearing of sewage
”If you experience sudden watery Diarrhoea, please visit a health care facility immediately and take all sick persons with the signs or symptoms above to a health care facility immediately,” he added.
Ihekweazu disclosed that NCDC had deployed Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) to some of the affected states, saying that the centre and its partners would continue to support the response to cholera.
”We advise that there should be an increased focus on the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
”States are encouraged to ensure early report of cases of diarrhea and adequate preparation including provision of WASH facilities, medical supplies, and institution of proper case management practices,” he said.