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Six die after eating abacha in Lagos…!


A typical abacha delicacy

A typical abacha delicacy

39 others hospitalised …
• Government bans sale of delicacy

Six persons have died of cholera in Isolo Local Council of Lagos State after allegedly eating Abacha, a local delicacy.

Commonly called African salad, abacha is a delicious Nigerian meal that is native to Igbos. It is prepared from dried, shredded and fermented cassava, leaves of garden egg, stockfish, castor bean, palm oil and local spices.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, confirmed the deaths yesterday at a press conference. Idris told journalists: “The ministry was notified of an upsurge of diarhhoea diseases in some communities in Isolo Local Council Development Authority (LCDA).

“Following this, 45 cases were line-listed by the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry. Six deaths were recorded among the 45 cases. Majority of the cases did not present with the classical rice-water stool, rather they presented with atypical diarrhoea and vomiting.

“Ano-rectal swabs were collected from 15 cases and taken to the Central Public Health Laboratory, Yaba, Lagos. Initially, there were no growths, however, continuous culture yielded Vibro cholerae from seven out of the 15 samples. The Vibrio cholera was later confirmed to be Ogawa strain.

“The main suspected source of infection is the salad called Abacha, a staple food of Isolo residents and adjoining local councils. Some domestic wells within the communities are also suspected. Samples of the Abacha salad and well water were collected and sent to the Lagos State Drug Quality Control Laboratory for analysis.

“The report of the analysis revealed the presence of Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella species and Escherichia coli in abacha and one of the two well water samples,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrhoea disease with or without vomiting caused by bacteria referred to as Vibro cholerae and it is transmitted through ingestion of food or water contaminated with infective faeces.

Food or water contamination is usually due to poor sanitation and the source of contamination is usually other cholera cases when their infective watery stool gets into food or drinking water supplies.

Prevention of cholera can be achieved through basic water sanitation, such as boiling water of unclean sources. Cholera can kill within hours if left untreated.

The commissioner, however, said the state has instituted measures towards quick containment and control of the outbreak.

Idris explained: “Our health workers are in the community striving assiduously towards quick containment and control of spread of the disease. Chlorination of water supply has been intensified, awareness campaign is on-going and cases are been promptly diagnosed and appropriately managed in our hospitals.”

Other prevention and control measures instituted by the state government include: Identifying the three vendors of contaminated Abacha at Cele Bus Stop; ban on sale and caution in eating of Abacha when not prepared by you; and distributing factsheets on cholera to the Medical Directors of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and 26 General Hospitals in Lagos State and Medical Officers in all the 57 LGAs/LCDAs for circulation to all health workers in their facilities.

The commissioner advised the general public to take the following precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease: Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly especially after using the rest room; boil water before drinking, especially if you are not sure of the source; keep all cooking utensils, plates, cutleries, cups and other materials clean before and after use.

Others are cover foods and water sources; cook foods adequately; store foods in fridges; wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly; dispose of waste materials appropriately; and limit body contact, especially hand contact with faeces.

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1 Comment
  • nana

    I am so impressed with what I have just read, the news report writing was beautifully laid out to engage readers. And to realize that we not only have the skills to culture samples but that this simple analytical investigation was carried out documented and a conclusive result was arrived at and communicated to the public makes me so proud of the professionals involved.

    Thank you Dr Jide Idris and i will not eat abacha not prepared by me, I will also encourage everyone i know to always boil their drinking water and I already wash my hands after using the toilet.