At least seven people have died following a Cholera outbreak at the New Artisan Market in Enugu State, the State Ministry of Health said. Also, nineteen others who were infected have been evacuated to the State Teaching Hospital, ESUT-Parklane for treatment. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ikechukwu Obi confirmed this in a statement on Friday, saying the ministry has commenced contact-tracing, surveillance, and risk assessment at the market and its environs, noting that an Emergency operations centre for the outbreak has been activated to curb further spread of the outbreak.
The statement reads in parts: “The Enugu State Ministry of Health received reports of deaths occurring suddenly, after a short spell of illness, on Friday morning, the 16th of July 2021 around the New Artisan livestock market in Enugu, Enugu State.
“Upon immediate investigation by the Ministry of Health’s rapid response team, it was observed that the patients presented with sudden onset of passage of loose stool and vomiting. It was revealed that the illness had resulted in the death of seven persons, and that subsequently, several others numbering about 19 were ill with the same symptoms of loose stools and vomiting.
“The ill persons identified within the area were immediately and safely evacuated to the state teaching hospital and are receiving treatment, while health education on safe and hygienic practices were given to the inhabitants of the market.”
“Further tests carried out by the State Ministry of Health at the teaching hospital revealed that all the persons were suffering from Cholera. Samples were collected for further confirmatory tests of this finding.
“Surveillance, contact tracing and risk assessment have commenced at the market and its environs, while the Enugu State Ministry of Health Emergency Operations Centre for Cholera outbreak response will be activated on Saturday 17th July 2021.
“Cholera is an infection caused by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Risk factors are from poor sanitation, and contaminated drinking water.
“The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Symptoms range from none, to mild, to severe. Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and even death. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.
“It is prevented by improvements in sanitation, use of clean water, hand washing and vaccines. Treatment involves replacement of lost body fluids orally or intravenously, zinc supplementation and antibiotics.
“While we commiserate and pray with those who have lost their loved ones, we enjoin the general public to keep safe as the situation is under control and the Enugu State Ministry of Health will keep the public informed on future developments.”