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More than 20,000 cholera cases have been confirmed in the Lake Chad Basin states of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon since January.

Public domain image/Dartmouth
Public domain image/Dartmouth

In its latest epidemiological analysis of the regional cholera outbreak, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 255 deaths have been reported since January.

“This is 8 times more than the average cholera case-load in the past four years. Nigeria is the most affected, with 18,000 cases. The outbreak has spread into neighboring Cameroon and Niger.

“The major cities of Maradi in Niger as well as Yaounde and Douala in Cameroon have confirmed cholera cases. More than 5 million people are living in the outbreak areas,” UNICEF said.

Further, the organization said the current outbreak is characteristically similar to the 2010 epidemic which killed 2,610 people and infected 63,000 in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

In Nigeria, the outbreak may spread in the three states of Kano, Katsina and Kaduna. In Niger, the disease is likely to spread in the Zinder and Niamey local government areas, while the cities of Douala and Yaounde are at risk of larger outbreaks in Cameroon.

People in the disease-endemic areas of Cameroon and Niger are at greater risk as the two countries have not run any vaccination campaigns in the past few years. Heavy rains across the region have created an ideal environment for the cholera outbreak to spread.