Dr Ademola Lawal, an epidemiologist, has advised Nigerians to take preventive measures against water-borne diseases that could cause epidemic.
Lawal revealed in Abuja on Tuesday that cholera was most prevalent when it rained and had the ability to cause epidemic and deaths.
He described the cholera as a disease of poverty and poor hygiene, urging Nigerians to be wary at all times, most especially during the rainy season.
“During rainy seasons, we have more of the acute water-borne diseases and cholera is prevalent.
“It is caused by a bacteria called “vibro cholerae’’ and it is essentially a disease of poverty and poor hygiene, usually found in places where there is no access to potable water.
“It is `fecal-oral’ and is peculiar during the rains because there is usually a contamination of the drinking water with human waste.
“It is the role of government to provide potable water and other essentials for the citizenry.
“It is also advisable for the citizens to take issues of personal hygiene very seriously to avoid contacting cholera,’’ he said.
The medical practitioner said that cholera was symptomless but advised that people, especially children who show persistent symptoms of diarrhoea, should be taken to the hospital.
Lawal warned that dwellers of shanties and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps faced greater risks of contacting cholera.
“Cholera is essentially symptomless. No acute fever, no headache but when any person above the age of two persistently passes watery stool, such person should be taken to the hospital.
“Treatment is usually with oral therapy, to replace lost body fluids and with antibiotics.
“There is also a vaccine against cholera but in Nigeria we do more of reactive vaccination.
“People who live in shanties and IDPs camps face greater risks of contacting cholera and it is advisable that governments at all levels take steps to protect such vulnerable citizens before the rains,’’ Lawal said.