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How Unregistered Tiger Nuts Drink Caused Lagos cholera outbreak

How Unregistered Tiger Nuts Drink Caused Lagos cholera outbreak

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The Lagos State Government said it has traced the latest cholera outbreak in the state to an unregistered tiger nut drink.

In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, said the officials of the Environmental Health Services from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment, were able to trace the cholera outbreak in the Eti=Osa Local Government Area to a particular brand of unregistered tiger nut drink.

She revealed that most of the cholera patients, upon being questioned, said they started exhibiting diarrhoea symptoms after consuming the tiger nut drink.

Ogunyemi said, “When we noticed an increase in cases in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos specifically, we went there to investigate. We carried out a survey and found that the common denominator, which was one of the deadly factors, was a tiger nut drink. People who came to the hospitals all identified that they had drunk tiger nut drink.

“We couldn’t just take their word for it, so we had to take that drink and test it to see what was in it. We immediately sent people out to look for those selling it, so we could take a sample. We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables,” she said.

Since the present outbreak, cholera has continued to spread across the country, with 30 states, including Lagos and Ogun more affected.

Amid the rising figure, which presently stands at 40, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the country does not have enough vaccines to prevent further infection.

However, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Jide Idris. said Nigeria has placed an order for more cholera vaccines from donor agencies, even though the date of delivery is still unknown.

 

He stressed the need for the country to embrace the use of vaccines and other preventive measures to curb the spread of acute diarrhoeal infection.

Cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by ingesting the bacteria— Vibrio cholerae — in contaminated water and food. Cholera can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea, and the severe forms of the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

In Nigeria, cholera is an endemic and seasonal disease, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and more frequently in areas with poor sanitation.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday announced a spike in cholera in several regions of the world, with almost 195,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths reported in 24 countries since the start of 2024.

WHO said the Eastern Mediterranean Region reported the highest number of cases, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Southeast Asia Region, and the European Region.

The global health body, however, noted that there are no reported cases in the Western Region, according to its bulletin released within the week.

 

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