The Lagos State Government says it has recorded three deaths out of the 13 cases reported, following an outbreak of cholera in more than five local government areas of the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said this at an emergency news conference in Alausa, Lagos, on Wednesday.
The state government had cautioned residents of the state of a possible outbreak of cholera two weeks ago.
Idris said: “Although many of the cases have been treated and patients discharged in several health facilities, three have been confirmed dead.
“Surveillance and investigation discovered that a large number of the cases came from Amuwo-Odofin, Apapa, Lagos Island, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere Local Government Areas”.
He said that further surveillance and investigation, especially in Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere Local Government Areas, identified African food salad, popularly called Abasha, as the suspected source of the disease.
“Water was the source in Ikare community in Amuwo-Odofin, and Apapa Local Government areas”.
He said that health officers in the councils where the outbreak had been detected had increased surveillance with visits to some of the patients and had collected samples for further tests.
“All these are parts of activities to trace the sources of the disease, in order to prevent its further spread,” the commissioner said.
According to Idris, cholera is an acute contagious bacterial disease characterised by a severe form of sudden onset of profuse but painless watery stooling, nausea and vomiting.
He added that the disease was acquired through the ingestion of an infected dose of contaminated food or water.
The commissioner added that the disease could be transmitted through direct or indirect contact with contaminated water or food by the faeces of infected individuals.
“Cholera should be suspected in any person who develops diarrhoea with or without vomiting, weakness, restlessness, irritability and dry mucous membrane.
“A person with low blood pressure, leg cramps, excessive loss of body fluids (dehydration), or who dies from frequent stooling, could also be suspected of the disease.
“Adequate measures should be taken in order to reduce the risk of contracting the disease”.
The commissioner also urged residents to ensure that they washed their hands with soap and water frequently.
“Boiling of water would be necessary for water that residents are not sure of its source; food should also be cooked thoroughly”.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba, also attended the news briefing.