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Unregistered tiger nut drink blamed for cholera outbreak in Lagos



A recent cholera outbreak in Lagos State has been traced back to an unregistered tiger nut drink, according to the Lagos State government.

The outbreak has affected several local government areas including Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, and Kosofe, resulting in 24 deaths and 35 confirmed cases as of June 21.

Kemi Ogunyemi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, explained in an interview with Punch that the spike in suspected cholera cases prompted an investigation, particularly in Eti-Osa LGA where the outbreak appeared to be centered.

“We conducted a direct assessment and discovered that a common factor among the affected individuals was the consumption of a tiger nut drink,” Ogunyemi stated.

She emphasized that the drink in question was not registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which ensures the safety of consumables in Nigeria.

During the investigation, empty bottles of the unregistered drink were found with a name and contact information, but efforts to trace the supplier proved futile as the provided phone number was unreachable.

“We combed the area to locate full bottles for testing but only found empty ones, which were of no use to us,” Ogunyemi lamented.

Samples of water and stool were collected for testing, confirming the presence of Vibrio cholera subtype 01, the most infectious and aggressive type of cholera.

Highlighting the impact of the outbreak, Ogunyemi noted that the highest number of cases were reported from Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, and Kosofe, where affected individuals sought medical treatment after exhibiting symptoms.

“I’m not referring to reported cases alone. These are individuals who took the right step by visiting hospitals to report symptoms and receive treatment, which alerted us to the situation,” she clarified.

In response to the outbreak, Ogunyemi urged residents to prioritize hygiene practices and verify the registration status of consumables before purchase.

She stressed the importance of complying with regulatory standards set by government agencies like NAFDAC to prevent similar health crises in the future.

The Lagos State government continues to monitor the situation closely and is taking steps to contain the outbreak through public health interventions and community awareness initiatives.

This report is based on information provided by Kemi Ogunyemi, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, in an interview with Punch.