Tension as disease deadlier than COVID-19 hits Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has announced that there are confirmed cases of Avian Influenza H5N1, also called “Bird flu” in Kano, Plateau, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kaduna and the Niger States.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of NCDC made this announcement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Tuesday in Abuja while highlighting the epidemiology situation and the response activities in the country.

NAN had reported that Avian Influenza has some strains of Influenza virus that primarily affects only bed but it can also infect humans.

The symptoms start within two to eight days, and like other common flu, cough, sore throat, fever, headache, muscle ache, and shortness of breath may occur.

Ihekweazu stated that as of March 24, 2021, the seven states had reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, HPAI, cases (H5N1) in poultries.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the National Multi-Agency Cholera Technical Working Group, TWG, is monitoring the situations in the eight states where suspected cases of cholera were reported.

Dr Chikwe said, “As of March 28, a total of 1,746 suspected cases, including 50 deaths with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR), that is 2.9 per cent, have been reported from Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto and Nasarawa states.

“Of the confirmed cases, 63.2 per cent were aged five to 14 years. Also, of the suspected cases, 48 per cent were females and 52 per cent were males,” he said.

The NCDC boss said the cases has been a gradual increase in the number of cases for the last two weeks.

“Zamfara State accounts for about 100 per cent of cases reported in the last two weeks. A total of 75 samples were collected out of which 49 tested positive.

“The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) for laboratory confirmation by culture is 14.7 per cent,” he said.

Dr Ihekweazu added: “Most people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their faeces for one to 10 days after infection and are shed back into the environment, potentially infecting other people.

“Among people who develop symptoms, the majority have mild or moderate symptoms, while a minority develop acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. This can lead to death if left untreated?”

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