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Lagos - Cholera has killed eight people in southern Nigeria and ten others have been hospitalised, health officials said on Thursday, in the latest outbreak to hit the country following a heavy rainy season.
Nigeria suffered cholera epidemics during the rainy seasons of 2010 and 2011, with nearly 2 000 people killed over two years.
While 2012 saw few reported infections, health officials warn that Nigeria remains vulnerable to further outbreaks because of its high population density and poor sanitation in many areas.
“We have eight deaths and 10 people in the hospital,” said Cosmas Oni, spokesman for the health ministry in southwestern Oyo state, adding that the outbreak was confirmed on Monday.
“We have also embarked on a campaign to enlighten the people on the need to always clean their environment and drink clean water because the whole place is reeling with dirt,” Oni told AFP.
Cholera, a highly contagious intestinal infection, is transmitted by water soiled by human waste. The disease leads to diarrhoea, dehydration and death if untreated.
Cholera outbreaks occur regularly during the rainy season in Nigeria, when downpours wash contaminants into wells used by families.
The rainy season typically runs from April to September.