Descriptive characterization of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Nigeria

BMC Public Health. 2014 Nov 16;14:1167. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1167.

Abstract

Background: In 2010, 18 States of Nigeria reported cholera outbreaks with a total of 41,787 cases including 1,716 deaths (case-fatality rate [CFR]: 4.1%). This exceeded the mean overall CFR of 2.4% reported in Africa from 2000-2005 and the WHO acceptable rate of 1%. We conducted a descriptive analysis of the 2010 cholera outbreak to determine its epidemiological and spatio-temporal characteristics.

Methods: We conducted retrospective analysis of line lists obtained from 10 of the 18 states that submitted line lists to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH). We described the outbreak by time, place and person and calculated the attack rates by state as well as the age- and sex-specific CFR from cholera cases for whom information on age, sex, place of residence, onset of symptoms and outcome were available.

Results: A total of 21,111 cases were reported with an overall attack rate and CFR of 47.8 cases /100,000 population and 5.1%, respectively. The CFR ranged in the states between 3.8% and 8.9%. The age-specific CFR was highest among individuals 65 years and above (14.6%). The epidemiological curve showed three peaks with increasing number of weekly reported cases. A geographical clustering of LGAs reporting cholera cases could be seen in all ten states. During the third peak which coincided with flooding in five states the majority of newly affected LGAs were situated next to LGAs with previously reported cholera cases, only few isolated outbreaks were seen.

Conclusion: Our study showed a cholera outbreak that grew in magnitude and spread to involve the whole northern part of the country. It also highlights challenges of suboptimal surveillance and response in developing countries as well as potential endemicity of cholera in the northern part of Nigeria. There is the need for a harmonized, coordinated approach to cholera outbreaks through effective surveillance and response with emphasis on training and motivating front line health workers towards timely detection, reporting and response. Findings from the report should be interpreted with caution due to the high number of cases with incomplete information, and lack of data from eight states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholera / epidemiology*
  • Cholera / mortality
  • Cholera / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors