Lagos: Cholera Outbreak Traced to Unregistered Tiger Nut Drinks – Gov’t

The Lagos State Government confirmed it had traced the spike in cholera cases at the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the state to unregistered tiger nut drinks ingested by affected persons.

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, made this known in an interview.

The recent outbreak of cholera in the country and Lagos State in particular saw Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti-Osa as the most affected LGs in the state.

Speaking on investigations made by the government after discovering an increase in the Eti-Osa LGA, Ogunyemi noted that a survey that was carried out showed that affected persons drank tiger nut drinks before being diagnosed with the disease.

She said, “When we noticed an increase in cases in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos specifically, we went there to investigate. We conducted a survey and found that the common denominator, which was one of the deadly factors, was a tiger nut drink. People who came to the hospitals all identified that they had drunk tiger nut drinks.”

According to her, further investigations were carried out to test the drink and ascertain the claims of the patients.

“We couldn’t just take their word for it, so we had to take that drink and test it to see what was in it. We immediately sent people out to look for those selling it so we could take a sample. We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables,” Ogunyemi said.

She added, “There was a phone number and a name on the bottle, and we started tracing. We did contact tracing, similar to what we did with COVID-19. We combed the area to ask people where they got the drinks from. We couldn’t find any full bottles. We only found empty ones, which were of no use because we could not test them.”

Ogunyemi added that the phone number on the bottle of the tigernut drink was not reachable and investigations revealed that the beverages were not registered and “the producers hadn’t gone through the processes to ensure that what they were producing was safe for the public to consume. We traced it to that.”

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