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Lagos: Cholera patients in Eti-Osa LGA took unregistered tiger nut drink

The Lagos state government says patients who contracted cholera in Eti-Osa LGA had an unregistered tiger nut drink.

Eti-Osa is the epicentre of the latest cholera outbreak in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city and commercial capital.

As of June 21, Lagos had recorded 24 deaths and 35 confirmed cholera cases.

Speaking in an interview with Punch on Saturday, Kemi Ogunyemi, special adviser to the Lagos state governor on health, said when the government noticed a spike in suspected cholera cases in Eti-Osa LGA, it visited the neighbourhood for a firsthand assessment.

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Ogunyemi said a survey showed that people who visited hospitals all said they had consumed a particular tiger nut drink.

She said officials were then dispatched to find the drink in other to test samples for cholera.

“We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables,” she said.

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“There was a phone number and a name on the bottle, and we started tracing. We did contact tracing, similar to what we did with COVID-19.

“We combed the area to ask people where they got the drinks from. We couldn’t find any full bottles. We only found empty ones, which were of no use because we could not test them. The phone number on the bottle was not reachable.

“Cholera is also water-borne, so we took samples of the water to test it. The bottom line is that we took stool samples because different things cause diarrhoea.

“It could be anything else. We found out that it was confirmed cholera, specifically Vibrio cholera subtype 01, which is the most infectious and aggressive type.

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“There are different types, but we identified this one. In Lagos Island, Eti-osa, and Kosofe, we recorded the highest number of cases that went to the hospital.

“I’m not talking about reported cases. These are the people who did the right thing by going to the hospital to complain of symptoms, and they were treated. That’s when we were alerted.”

Ogunyemi added that the government has ramped up sensitisation and awareness to ensure that the outbreak does not morph into an epidemic.

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