Cholera Outbreak Hits Kirikiri Prison, 25 Cases Confirmed

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LAGOS, July 1, 2024 — The Lagos State Government has confirmed an outbreak of cholera-induced gastroenteritis in Kirikiri Medium Security Prison, making the state’s battle against the infectious disease even more complicated. The state’s health ministry announced on Sunday that 25 cases of severe gastroenteritis caused by cholera have been detected in the prison, signaling a potential spread into correctional facilities.

This revelation directly contradicts recent assurances from the National Correctional Service (NCoS). Just four days prior, NCoS spokesperson Abubakar Umar declared that all correctional centers were free of cholera, crediting routine hygienic measures and health education for keeping the disease at bay. Umar emphasized the role of health professionals in educating staff and inmates about hygiene, including hand washing, maintaining a clean environment, and proper food handling.

“Due to these measures, we have not recorded any cholera outbreak or epidemic in our custodial centres,” Umar had stated.

Following the confirmation of cholera cases in Kirikiri prison, the Lagos State Ministry of Health has swiftly mobilized efforts to address the outbreak. Tunbosun Ogunbawo, Director of Public Affairs, stated that officials are inspecting facilities across the state to identify and rectify sanitation and water issues. Urgent medical and environmental interventions have been initiated, which are reportedly improving the situation.

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In a show of support, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals to health facilities in Lagos’ correctional centers. The WHO has also provided more than 30 cholera kits to the Lagos State Ministry of Health, designed to treat hundreds of patients in affected communities.

“We were able to supply Kirikiri medium prison with intravenous fluids, infection prevention, and other health consumables,” Ogunbawo said in the statement. He added that the WHO’s contributions would support health facilities in managing the health of approximately 3,200 inmates.

While no new cholera-related deaths have been reported in the last 72 hours, Ogunbawo noted that the state is still experiencing low-grade community transmission. The government’s countermeasures are showing positive results, with a reduction in new daily cases and deaths as residents adhere to public health advice and seek early medical treatment for symptoms.

Investigations into the source of the cholera outbreak have pointed to unregulated street beverages and contaminated water supplies. Samples taken from popular street beverages revealed the presence of cholera bacteria, with all containers lacking NAFDAC accreditation numbers. This indicates they were produced in informal backyard units. Ogunbawo stated that efforts are underway to locate and shut down these unregulated manufacturing sites and arrest those involved in the illegal production and distribution of beverages without proper accreditation.

The cholera outbreak in Lagos was first declared in June, with health authorities recording 436 suspected cases initially. Within days, the number of suspected cases rose to over 500, with 43 confirmed cases and a 5.4% case fatality rate among the suspected cases. In the past six months, Nigeria has reported over 1,000 suspected cholera cases, 65 confirmed cases, and 30 deaths across 96 local government areas in 30 states.

Source: Premium Times

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