Cholera outbreak claims 20 lives in Benue

About 20 persons, including women and children have died, following a fresh cholera outbreak in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

The epidemic had also left about 300 persons hospitalised across several hospitals in the state capital.

A visit by journalists to the state University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Joluwa Hospital, Madona Hospital and several others in Makurdi town, showed that majority of the patients on admission showed symptoms of the diseases, which included stooling and vomiting.

At Joluwa Hospital, Dr. Adole Victor, told journalists that in the last two weeks, the hospital had been admitting close to four cholera patients on a daily basis.

"We started noticing patients with symptoms of the diseases in the last two weeks. The situation intensified a week ago. At a point, we were admitting at least four patients on a daily basis.

"In fact, it got to a situation when 80 per cents of out patients were cholera victims; at a point, our facilities became over stretched and there were no bed space for new patients," he said.
He added, that majority of the patients who manifested the disease were residents of the Wadata area of the town which is a known slum that is bordered by River Benue.

The medical doctor, however, noted that officials of the state Ministry of Health, including the state's epidemiologist had visited and extended some medical assistance to the hospital.

"We have received free intravenous fluids, antibiotics and other drugs to assist hospitals combat the outbreak," he said.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Orduen Abunku, said his ministry had from last Wednesday recorded six deaths as a result of the disease.
"When we started visiting the hospitals in town last Wednesday, we discovered six deaths, but as for the number of infected patients, I cannot give you that for now," he noted.
Abunku, who stressed that the ministry had issued a warning to residents of the town to ensure environmental cleanliness, added that residents must also ensure that they boil their water before drinking.

The epidemic had recently hit Otukpo and its environs last year but health officials in the state had denied the situation despite several death recorded.