Home News ‘Cholera bacteria transmitted through faeces’

‘Cholera bacteria transmitted through faeces’

by Haruna Gimba
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By Iyemah David

A public health expert, Dr Gabriel Adakole has cautioned members of the public against Cholera bacteria which is passed through faeces.

He said the disease is spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated by the faeces of an infected person.

Cholera is a severe diarrhoea illness caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

The disease remains a significant health challenge, especially in regions with inadequate sanitation and clean water access.

Understanding the transmission mechanism of cholera is crucial in curbing its spread and implementing effective prevention measures.

The public health expert said that the primary route of cholera transmission was through the consumption of food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.

“The bacteria can survive in the environment for extended periods, making it easier for the disease to spread in areas lacking proper sanitation and hygiene.

“When a person ingests contaminated water or food, the bacteria colonise the intestines, leading to the rapid onset of symptoms,” he said.

Dr Adakole said that cholera would be more prevalent in underdeveloped states where infrastructure for clean water and sewage disposal was insufficient.

“In these states, the lack of access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities creates an environment conducive to the spread of cholera.

“Natural disasters, conflicts and overcrowded living conditions can exacerbate the situation, leading to outbreaks that can affect thousands of people,” he said.

He further said that preventing cholera required a multifaceted approach.

According to him, states should ensure access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities which is vital.

“This involves building and maintaining infrastructure for safe water supply and proper sewage disposal, and educating communities on the importance of handwashing with soap and safe food handling practices.

“Cholera vaccines can provide temporary protection and are particularly useful during outbreaks or for people travelling to high-risk areas.

“Early diagnosis and treatment of cholera with oral rehydration salts (ORS) and, in severe cases, intravenous fluids and antibiotics, can save lives and limit the spread of the disease,” he advised.

He said that it was time for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), and relevant agencies, including various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to assist affected states to combat cholera.

“These efforts should include providing emergency relief during outbreaks, supporting infrastructure projects, and conducting vaccination campaigns.

“However, the persistent challenges of poverty, political instability, and climate change continue to hamper progress,” he stressed.

He also said that cholera remained a serious threat in many parts of the world including Nigeria, primarily due to the lack of clean water and adequate sanitation.

“Addressing these fundamental issues is key to preventing the spread of cholera and improving public health outcomes globally,” he said.

Lagos State government has recently confirmed a cholera outbreak, with the highly aggressive strain identified.

The epicentre is Lagos Island, with 106 cases, followed by other Local Government Areas.

Out of 350 suspected cases, 17 are confirmed, and 15 deaths have occurred.

The state, supported by NCDC, World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and local NGOs, is enhancing public health campaigns, especially with the Sallah celebrations.

Suspected cases receive free treatment. Cholera spreads through contaminated food and water, and severe cases can cause rapid death due to dehydration.

In 2022, there were 473,000 cholera cases reported globally, with numbers rising in 2023. Africa has the highest numbers.

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