Cholera Kills Over 1,500 In Nigeria
Cholera is in the news again as Haiti sees cases of the disease we once thought had gone away. Yet, in Nigeria, more than 1,500 people have died from the disease this year alone.
The deaths come as the waterborne illness continues to plague other West African nations, including tiny Benin, where humanitarian officials worry a devastating flood there may spread it farther. But officials hope oil-rich Nigeria will see fewer cases in the coming weeks as the dry season approaches and local governments attempt to warn people of the danger.
Geneva-based Unicef spokesperson Marixie Mercado said Monday that as of October 20, there had been 1,555 deaths in Nigeria from cholera recorded this year, with 38,173 cases reported. At last count in September, when local and federal officials in Nigeria assured the public the disease was under control, Nigeria's Health Ministry said there were under 800 dead and 13,000 people sickened.
According to the World Health Organization statistics, the current outbreak is the worst in Nigeria since 1991, when 7,654 people died.
Cholera is a fast-developing, highly contagious infection that causes diarrhea, leading to severe dehydration and possible death. The disease is easily preventable with clean water and sanitation but in places like West Africa, sanitation often remains an afterthought in teeming city slums and mud-walled villages.