What You Need to Know About the Cholera and Hepatitis E Waves in Nigeria

A red alert has been raised, by the World Health Organization (WHO), to spread awareness of the acute cases of cholera and hepatitis E in Nigeria. This after the Nigerian Ministry of Health notified the WHO, on 18 June 2017, of a wave of hepatitis E located in the north-east region of the country.

What is Cholera and How is it Transmitted?

Cholera is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies, that causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

What is Hepatitis E and How is it Transmitted?

Hepatitis E is a rare form of liver inflammation caused by infection with the hepatitis E virus (HEV). It is transmitted via food or drink handled by an infected person or through infected water supplies in areas where fecal matter may get into the water.

Believed Causes of these Infections, According to the WHO

  1. Cholera Wave 2017: poor hygiene, shortage of clean drinking water and ongoing humanitarian crisis
  2. Hepatitis E Wave 2017: ongoing humanitarian crisis in north-eastern Nigeria

The Guardian on Cholera Outbreaks

  • First acute case reported in the final week of April 2017
  • Sharp increase in cases and deaths from 1 May 2017
  • On 7 June 2017, the WHO was notified of the outbreak in Kwara State
  • Decline in new cases from mid-June to mid-July
  • 30 June 2017: 1 558 suspected cases reported, incl. 11 deaths (according to the WHO)
  • Disease affects box sexes almost equally and all age groups

The WHO on Hepatitis E

On 18 June 2017, WHO was notified by the Nigerian Ministry of Health about the hepatitis E outbreak located in the north-east region of the country.

  • First case detected 3 May 2017 in Damasak
  • Later cases reported in Ngala
  • 2 July 2017: 146 confirmed and suspected cases (21 confirmed cases)
  • Ngala: 25 infected pregnant women reported (2 deaths)

February 2017, The WHO on the ongoing humanitarian crisis: “...eight years of violent conflict... widespread displacement and devastation... acute food and nutrition insecurity...desperate shortage of essential health care… Constant conflict continues to challenge the abilities of the WHO and health sector partners to access people who are most in need of basic health services. Insecurity is a major constraint, with recent attacks on humanitarian staff. Access to local government areas requires military escort on poor roads and communication with many of these areas is extremely limited.”

What is Being Done About the Outbreaks?

  • Social mobilisation activities continue
  • A multisectoral approach is emphasised
  • Environmental investigations are ongoing
  • Numerous response measures are being carried out
  • According to the WHO, efforts to improve case management are ongoing
  • Public health awareness through sensitisation and announcements in public places
  • Some states’ Ministries of Health have established an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the outbreak response with support from numerous centres, programmes, agencies, universities, the WHO and partners.

The WHO’s Recommendations include:

  • Improve quality and access to safe drinking water
  • Improve sanitation, personal hygiene and preparation of safe and clean food
  • Establish antenatal counselling; improve housing conditions for refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons); support partners in improving health facilities and care
  • Improve local and national reference laboratory capacities for timely confirmation of suspected cases

Get Tested at Bridge Clinic

We offer tests for the following:

  • Cholera: Stool test for Vibrio cholerae.
  • Hepatitis E :IgG IgM antibody test (Definitive diagnosis of Hepatitis E infection is usually based on the detection of specific IgM antibodies to the virus in a person’s blood.)

Get in touch to book a test or to find out more about Cholera and Hepatitis E.

Email enquiries@thebridgeclinic.com | Call 01 631 0092 +234 (0)1 631 0092

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