Health officials in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno have confirmed the death of at least 80 people in a cholera outbreak. Nearly 2,000 people have so far being infected.
The state government has dispatched medical teams to the affected nine districts to check the further spread of the disease.
Most of the victims are women and children. The regions struggling health care system has been put under intense pressure as it struggles to put the disease under check.
Alhaji Buba Umar, of the state ministry of health and leader of one of the medical teams providing treatment to those afflicted, told VOA that investigations so far have identified contaminated water as the primary source of the outbreak.
"It is still a mystery to us but we strongly suspect it could be from contaminated water. Because we asked the same questions and the response was that whenever it rained some people collect water from rooftops, water coming down an they believe, may be it is from there," said Umar. "In this part of the country, whenever it rains people put buckets under water collectors to collect water. Some of the roofs are dirty. That is what they told us. But some of us have a strong belief that it may be from these contaminated dams people are digging around. Definitely, it must be water-sourced."
The outbreak was first reported last Thursday and indications are that the death toll may rise as officials are still compiling the latest tally.
Hundreds of people die of cholera every year during the rainy season in Nigeria. Poor people who cannot afford basic health care are most vulnerable.
However, Umar says there is nothing to worry as the spread of the disease is now being controlled.
"The reports are being compiled but rest be assured that everything is under control because we have dispatched about nine teams just the day before yesterday to the various local government areas affected and by this evening the report will be ready," he said. "We met only two people o admission and they are responding to treatment."
Cholera, an infectious disease that affects people through drinking water contaminated with cholera bacteria, can kill people within 24 hours by inducing vomiting and diarrhea.