Health Infectious Disease Nigeria Top Story

Talks on emergency cholera vaccine as zobo and tigernut drinks eyed as possible source of infection in Lagos

Lagos State is grappling with a severe cholera outbreak, intensified by concerns over contaminated local drinks like zobo and tigernut, as health officials urgently discuss the procurement of emergency cholera vaccines amidst rising cases.

In response to a cholera outbreak declared by Lagos State on June 9, 2024, health authorities have reported 324 suspected cases, resulting in 15 fatalities and 40 recoveries following treatment. Nationwide, Nigeria has seen 1,141 suspected cases across 30 states since January 1, 2024, with 65 cases confirmed and 30 deaths spanning 96 local governments.

The outbreak has disproportionately affected states such as Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, and particularly Lagos. Investigations by local health officials have pointed to popular beverages like zobo and tigernut as potential sources of infection, citing possible contamination of ingredients or water used in preparation.

Contributing to the crisis is the critical shortage of oral cholera vaccines in Nigeria. These vaccines, essential for protecting high-risk populations for up to three years, remain in short supply despite urgent efforts by the Federal Government in collaboration with Gavi (Vaccine Alliance) to secure emergency donations.


Health authorities stress the importance of timely reporting to curb the spread of cholera, underscoring that delayed action could exacerbate fatalities. Community engagement remains pivotal, with ongoing efforts to educate the public on proper hygiene practices and safe drinking water sources to prevent further outbreaks.

As discussions intensify around vaccine procurement and community mobilization efforts, stakeholders emphasise the need for swift action to contain the cholera outbreak and safeguard public health in Lagos and across Nigeria.

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