Officials in Kano state, Nigeria are reporting a cholera outbreak in the northwest parts of the state, which is spreading, according to a Xinhua report Friday.

Nigeria map/CIA
Nigeria map/CIA

“The outbreak of the disease has been reported in 11 local government areas, hence the need for people to take necessary preventive measures,” said Bello Abubakar of the state ministry of health. “People should use safe water to brush their teeth, as well as to wash and prepare their food. They should also ensure that they prepare their food clean areas and wash their kitchen wares with soap and clean water,” Abubakar said.

No numbers were given and officials declined to mention if there were deaths associated with the outbreak.

Cholera, caused by  the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.

The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number ofmechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infected individuals. Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transport or during storage at home. Food can get contaminated by soiled hands, during preparation or while eating.

Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetables washed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page