In the Bomadi and Burutu areas of the state of Delta, within Nigeria, the main source of water is the Forcados River. According to Brittanica, the Forcados flows through freshwater swamps, coastal areas, and mangrove swamps. Unfortunately, some residents believe that it is the Forcados which is causing the recent spate of Nigerian deaths associated with cholera. While the cholera outbreak has been going on for some time now, it recently claimed the lives of 20 people within this area. Many of those affected are children. One local resident suggested that the Forcados was unclean. Now, residents are being forced to make an uncomfortable and impossible decision: drink the water and potentially experience the health effects, or try and live without.
Currently, State health organizations are working to create a fresh water project to provide the people of Bomadi, Burutu, and other areas with clean, healthy, and potable water. However, it is unclear when this project will be launched.
A bacteria called Vibrio cholerae causes cholera, an infection characterized by diarrhea and vomiting. This bacterial condition is usually spread through contaminated drinking water, although it can also be spread through dirty or contaminated food, as well as feces from an infected individual. As a result, cholera often affects those in areas with few fresh water supplies, unsafe food or water, or poor sewer systems. Each year, an estimated 2.9 million people get cholera. Luckily, it is not always life-threatening or fatal, with only 10% of cases progressing to a severe level. Typically, symptoms appear within 2-3 after infection, although they can occur as soon as a few hours after. Symptoms include:
- Severe diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Leg cramps
- Severe dehydration
If someone believes they have been infected with cholera, it is important to seek help right away. The loss of fluids, through diarrhea, can cause shock and dehydration. In serious cases, cholera can be fatal within hours if not treated.
Learn more about cholera.