Disease Outbreak In Delta: Between Cholera and Gastroenteritis

Nigeria, August 02, 2015, (Blank NEWS Online) – -By Albert OGRAKA

After 96 cases and six fatalities were established in a sudden outbreak of a disease, touted to be cholera in Aladja community, Udu local government area of the Delta state, the state government has yet to unravel the mystery surrounding the outbreak.delta (2)

Meanwhile, Delta state government has quickly debunked claims of cholera outbreak in Aladja, a community in Udu local government area of the state.

If a statement credited to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Sunday Otobo in Asaba, saying there was no confirmed outbreak of cholera in Delta State, but that there were incidents of stooling and vomiting recorded in Aladja, Udu Local Government Area of the state, is anything to go by, then the state government has failed to rise up to the occasion.

Although he claimed that various samples have been taken to Lagos for testing , he insisted that “none has been confirmed to be suffering from cholera” while the results of the test are yet to be received from Lagos after analysis.

For Dr. W. Henry, a medical officer in Udu local government, who has been attending to patients admitted in the Primary Health Centre, “having conducted several tests and analysis, there was no confirmed case of cholera but an explosive case of gastroenteritis.”

He revealed that so far 96 cases and six fatalities have been established in the area since the outbreak of the disease.

However, the state Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s directive to Health officers in the 25 local government areas of the state to be proactive in detecting and tackling any outbreak of diseases in all communities is a welcome development that would help stave-off disease spread and casualties.

While community leaders in Aladja have expressed sadness over the disease outbreak, they had also appealed to the state government to reactivate the long abandoned community water scheme to provide potable drinking water.

Before the outbreak of the disease, Aladja community’s source of drinking water has been the river, dug-in-well and satchet water but the Chairman of Udu local government council, Chief Solomon Kpomah has initiated measures to ensure that henceforth all satchet and well water are examined by the NAFDAC officials in the local government area.

Last Word:
Governments at all levels possesses near total responsibilities in providing cheap potable drinking water for the citizenry, even when the reverse has been the case with past administrations, the present adminstration should make its relevant ministries, departments and agencies become proactive instead of waiting for outbreaks and fatalities before taking actions.

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.

Cholera was prevalent in the U.S. in the 1800s, before modern water and sewage treatment systems eliminated its spread by contaminated water. Only about 10 cases of cholera are reported each year in the U.S. and half of these are acquired abroad. Rarely, contaminated seafood has caused cholera outbreaks in the U.S. However, cholera outbreaks are still a serious problem in other parts of the world. At least 150,000 cases are reported to the World Health Organization each year.

The disease is most common in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine. Common locations include parts of Africa, south Asia, and Latin America. If you are traveling to one of those areas, knowing the following cholera facts can help protect you and your family.

Cholera Causes:
Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, is usually found in food or water contaminated by feces from a person with the infection.

Common sources include:
Municipal water supplies
Ice made from municipal water
Foods and drinks sold by street vendors
Vegetables grown with water containing human wastes
Raw or undercooked fish and seafood caught in waters polluted with sewage

When a person consumes the contaminated food or water, the bacteria release a toxin in the intestines that produces severe diarrhea. It is not likely you will catch cholera just from casual contact with an infected person.

Cholera Symptoms
Symptoms of cholera can begin as soon as a few hours or as long as five days after infection. Often, symptoms are mild. But sometimes they are very serious. About one in 20 people infected have severe watery diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Although many infected people may have minimal or no symptoms, they can still contribute to spread of the infection.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
Rapid heart rate
Loss of skin elasticity (the ability to return to original position quickly if pinched)
Dry mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth, throat, nose, and eyelids
Low blood pressure
Muscle cramps
If not treated, dehydration can lead to shock and death in a matter of hours.

Gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea is a medical condition from inflammation (“-itis”) of the gastrointestinal tract that involves both the stomach (“gastro”-) and the small intestine (“entero”-). It causes some combination of diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and cramping.[1] Dehydration may occur as a result. Gastroenteritis has been referred to as gastro, stomach bug, and stomach virus. Although unrelated to influenza, it has also been called stomach flu and gastric flu.

Globally, most cases in children are caused by rotavirus.[2] In adults, norovirus[3] and Campylobacter[4] are more common. Less common causes include other bacteria (or their toxins) and parasites. Transmission may occur due to consumption of improperly prepared foods or contaminated water or via close contact with individuals who are infectious. Prevention includes drinking clean water, hand washing with soap, and breast feeding babies instead of using formula. This applies particularly where sanitation and hygiene are lacking. The rotavirus vaccine is recommended for all children.

The key treatment is enough fluids. For mild or moderate cases, this can typically be achieved via oral rehydration solution (a combination of water, salts, and sugar). In those who are breast fed, continued breast feeding is recommended. For more severe cases, intravenous fluids from a healthcare centre may be needed. Antibiotics are generally not recommended. Gastroenteritis primarily affects children and those in the developing world. It results in about three to five billion cases and causes 1.4 million deaths a year.

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Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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