Cholera, Measles Kill 252 Persons In Nigeria’s Borno

More people in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, are battling to survive two killer epidemics in the last three months. Many are dying.

A total of 178 persons have died of cholera infection in Borno state, Northeast Nigeria since July this year, according to data obtained from the state primary health care agency.

Similarly, 74 persons have also been confirmed to have died from an epidemic of measles in the state.  

A document seen by HumAngle showed that of the 10,710 reported cases of suspected measles, 140 have so far been confirmed and more than half of the confirmed cases were fatal.   

HumAngle had earlier published a report in September in which the state government sought external intervention to enable it to curb the spread of cholera, which at that time had claimed about 43 lives. 

According to the data made available to HumAngle, both measles and cholera were mostly reported in overcrowded IDP camps and communities where displaced persons have been resettled. 

HumAngle has reported on how several inmates in one of the camps where persons associated with Boko Haram are being kept in Maiduguri had died of cholera.  

The primary healthcare agency which gave an end of a third-quarter update on the “Measles outbreak situation as of September 2022” indicated that of the  10,710 suspected, 140 have been confirmed as measles, of which 74 died. 

Flooded IDP Camp in Bama. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumAngle

The document further revealed that the cases of measles had reached an official outbreak level in 24 local government areas. 

As of Oct. 5 “there have been more than 5,000 cases with 178 associated deaths across 13 local government areas (LGAs) in Borno State.”

The document disclosed that of the 13 local government places, Dikwa, Bama, Jere, and Konduga local government areas have  “a high concentration of displaced people by the conflict, recorded 2,500 cholera cases and more than 116 deaths.” 

A measles outbreak has been an annual occurrence in Borno state in recent years. As of June last year, a total of 5,902 cases of the disease were reported in 14 IDP camps in 7 local government areas of the state. 

According to NCDC data that was published in January, Borno tops the six states of Nigeria with the highest reported cases of measles.

 The data indicated that Borno had 166, Jigawa, 94;  Katsina, 88; Kebbi, 70; Kwara, 43; and Anambra, 40 reported cases.

Children walking in flood water in an IDP camp in Borno state. Photo credit: Abdulkareem/HumAngle

Measles is a viral infection that seriously affects children within the age group 9 – 59 months. It is mostly contracted through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.

According to experts on the prevention of diseases, untreated measles can commonly cause pneumonia, infection in the lungs. 

The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea, and related dehydration. 

People with weakened immune systems can develop an especially dangerous type of pneumonia that sometimes can lead to death.

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist currently employed as the Editor for Lake Chad at HumAngle. For over a decade, he has demonstrated a passionate commitment to reporting on the Boko Haram conflict and the crisis in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of English Language and holds a Diploma in Mass Communications. Prior to his current role, he served as an assistant editor at both Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper.

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