Update on Nigerian cholera outbreak

The number of cases from the ongoing outbreak of cholera in Nigeria had climbed to 34,008 as of Oct. 12, the National Travel Health Network and Centre reported on Wednesday.

Since the outbreak began in May 2013, 664 cholera-related fatalities have been reported.

Cholera is spread through contaminated water or food as a result of poor sanitation, thus areas with weaker sanitation systems are more likely to see cases. Person-to-person transmission is rare.

Cases have been reported in 19 states, including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Plateau and Zamfara. 

Travelers to these areas should use care when consuming food and water to avoid infection. Those at higher risk, including humanitarian aid and relief workers, should receive the cholera vaccine. 

Health care professionals should be on the alert for patients who have come from Nigeria.

Cholera is a diarrheal illness that affects the intestines. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting, a rapid heartbeat, dried mucous membranes, restlessness and irritability, and low blood pressure. Renal failure is a possibility for those showing signs of severe cholera infection,  the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Increased industrialization have all but eliminated the illness in some parts of the world. The majority of modern cholera cases are in African countries.