Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nigeria battles cholera epidemic - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Doctors were trying to save small children in Ganjuwa district by rehydrating them intravenously

The Nigerian government is struggling to contain a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 800 Nigerians in two months.

About 13,000 people have been sickened, according to the nation's health ministry, and poorly funded clinics are jammed with patients.

The epidemic, reportedly the worst in nearly two decades, has also spread to neighbouring countries, killing nearly 400 people in Cameroon and more than 40 in Chad. Cases have also been reported in Niger.

However, Doctor Henry Akpan of Nigeria's health ministry, described the situation as "under control" in the country. 

"We're not having new deaths anymore," he told Al Jazeera on Friday.

"We're still having cases but the cases have been contained and we have a lot of centres where people get treatment."

Disinfecting streets

In the northern state of Bauchi, health workers in surgical masks dumped chlorine tablets into wells and sprayed anti-bacterial solution on the narrow dirt streets of Ganjuwa district.

Musa Dambam Mohammed, a Bauchi state health official, said the local government has chlorinated every well in the region and provided infomation to the public about how to avoid contracting the illness.

However, the chlorine will wear off over time, leaving the wells again susceptible to cholera.

Cholera is a highly contagious infection that causes diarrhoea, and can lead to severe dehydration and possible death.



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