The Nigerian government says 1,068 people have been infected following an outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) in at least 10 local government areas of Borno State.

Image/Robert Herriman
Image/Robert Herriman

Borno State Commissioner for Health Haruna Mshelia said the disease was becoming an epidemic, with at least 25 critically ill patients admitted at three cholera treatment centres in the state.

The commissioner said the source of the outbreak was most likely in refugee camps that are home to thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) resulting from ongoing military operations against insurgent group Boko Haram.

Open defecation, in an environment characterized by poor sanitary conditions, have been blamed for facilitating the spread of AWD and other water-borne disease in IDP camps around Borno.

“To prevent outbreaks of diarrhea and other water borne diseases, like cholera, there must be public awareness on personal hygiene and sanitation. They are critical in preventing such diseases, which claimed 61 lives last year in the state,” Mshelia said.

Samples from the suspected cases have been are being tested in local laboratories and reported for monitoring purposes to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).