More than 2,300 people have died in one of Nigeria’s worst cholera outbreaks in recent years, with at least 69,925 suspected cases of infection reported as of early September in 25 of the country’s 36 states, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of Nigeria.
Children between the ages of five and 14 are the most affected and the overall mortality rate is 3.3%, more than double that of Covid-19 (1.3%).
In Nigeria, at least 2,323 people have reportedly died of cholera this year, but there is concern that the numbers will be higher as many affected communities are in hard-to-reach areas.
Northern states, where flooding and poor sanitation increase the risk of contagion, are the most affected. The 19 northern states count 98% suspected cases.
Cholera is endemic and seasonal in Africa’s most populous country, where only 14% of the population of more than 200 million has access to clean water services, according to government data from last year, which also revealed that the open defecation is still practiced by about 30% of residents in 14 states.
Nigeria still has regular outbreaks of yellow fever, Lassa fever, measles and other infectious diseases.
“We must remain aware that these multiple outbreaks could further damage our health care system,” outgoing CDC Director General Chikwe Ihekweazu told AP news agency.
Chikwe Ihekweazu and other officials indicated that experience with these health crises helped the country prepare for the worst.
“Previous investment in diagnostic capacity, case management, electronic surveillance systems, event-based surveillance, risk communication, logistical management systems and national/sub-national workforce development were significantly rewarded during the Covid-19 pandemic “he stated.
However, the investment did not contain anger and, in some states, authorities said that Covid-19 took center stage.
The 2021 cholera outbreak, with the highest death rate in four years, is compounded by what many see as a top priority for Nigerian state governments: the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nigeria faces a resurgence of Delta variant infection cases.
Less than 1% of the population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.