7 Common Waterborne Diseases in Nigeria

Waterborne Diseases in Nigeria

Water, they say, is life. That statement is only true when you have access to clean, drinkable water. Irrespective of that, dirty or contaminated water, however, is something you should avoid by all means.

Dirty water contains a lot of things you would not want in your body like microorganisms, including Bacteria, and some harmful chemicals.

When such water enters your system, it could result in illness and diseases. Diseases that are transmitted through water are referred to as water-borne diseases.

Like we have seen above, water-borne diseases are those diseases or sicknesses that are gotten from using contaminated water. You do not have to drink the water before you contract some water-borne diseases.

Using the water to wash your hands or using it to cook is also a way you can get infected. That is why you should boil your water before drinking and use soap when washing your hands. 

In today’s article, we would be looking at some common waterborne diseases in Nigeria.

1. Cholera

Cholera is a common water-borne disease, especially here in Nigeria. It is caused by vibrio cholerae bacteria and finds its way to the water through faeces or any other thing it has contaminated.

People who drink such water or use it to cook would become infected with cholera. Cholera can be very fatal if left untreated, but only 1 in 10 people will develop life-threatening symptoms, according to Lifewater.

Cholera is a prevalent endemic disease in Nigeria, as well as being a seasonal disease. It occurs annually mostly during the rainy season and more often in areas with poor sanitation.

Some of the common symptoms of Cholera include vomiting, nausea, and so on.

Cholera is very common in dirty and untidy areas, like in villages, where it is also likely to spread, due to the unavailability of soap and clean water to wash hands and cook. 

To keep cholera at bay, endeavour to wash your hands properly with soap and clean water at all times. There are some simple ways to clean water at home, learn about them and apply them.

Make sure you boil your meat and fish before eating. Wash your ingredients very well before use. Doing all of these would keep you and your loved ones safe from cholera. 

2. Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is another common disease that is spread by using contaminated water. It is caused by many types of germs and bacteria that stay in water.

Although it affects people of all ages, it is more common in young children. Common symptoms include dizziness, dehydration, pale skin, and loss of consciousness in severe cases. It can lead to death if left untreated. 

To prevent diarrohea, you should take personal hygiene seriously by making sure that your surroundings are clean. Also, make sure the water you use is clean and untainted. 

3. Dengue Fever

This is another common disease that can be contracted through water. It is spread by the female “tiger” mosquitoes (the Aedes genus).

Although it is spread by mosquitoes, these mosquitoes breed in water. This makes the disease very common in areas with stagnant or dirty water.

This endemic disease in Nigeria is said to affect thousands of Nigerians yearly  Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, and more.

To keep yourself safe from dengue fever, clear your surrounding to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around you. Make use of mosquito repellents and sleep under treated nets. 

Waterborne Diseases in Nigeria

4. Typhoid

Typhoid can also be spread by contaminated water. Like other water-borne diseases, it survives in places that are dirty or unsanitary.

It is also highly contagious, meaning if one person gets it and it is left untreated, there is likely to be an outbreak of the disease in the community.

Some of the common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, constipation, loss of appetite, and more.

To prevent getting typhoid, avoid from drinking any water that isn’t bottled or sealed, and do not eat food from unhygienic restaurants or street vendors.

However, treating it is fairly easy as there are vaccines for it. You can learn more about the typhoid vaccine in Nigeria.

5. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver and is caused by drinking contaminated water.

It can also be contracted by coming in contact with someone who has the disease as it is very contagious. Common symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, fever, and more. 

To prevent hepatitis A, boil water or heat foods properly before consuming them. Although, the best way to prevent hepatitis A is by getting the hepatitis A vaccine.

6. Dysentery

Another one of the most common waterborne diseases in Nigeria is the intestinal infection known as dysentery.

Dysentery is a waterborne disease associated with severe diarrhea, along with blood or mucus in the stool. Many outbreaks of cholera in Nigeria occur every year.

To avoid dysentery, you have to always wash your hands, because this waterborne disease is spread through poor hygiene. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, which are present in unhygienic food and water.

It can also contracted by coming in contact with faeces. Dysentery can become very serious if the patient cannot replace fluids quickly enough.

To avoid this common waterborne disease, wash your hands with soap or use a hand sanitizer often.

Drink only sealed, bottled water while traveling to a rural area. And only drink sachet water from well-known sachet water companies around you.

7. Dracunculiasis

Dracunculiasis, commonly known as Guinea worm disease, is a parasitic infection caused by the nematode Dracunculus medinensis. It is one of the common waterborne diseases in Nigeria.

The disease is contracted when a person drinks water that has been contaminated with tiny water fleas carrying the larvae of the Guinea worm.

Once inside the human body, the larvae are released as the water fleas die, and the larvae then migrate through the intestinal wall and into body tissues.

Over the course of a year, the larvae mature into adult worms, which can grow to be about 60 to 100 centimeters long.

As the female worm matures, it makes its way to the surface of the skin, causing a painful blister, usually on the lower limbs. When the blister ruptures, it exposes the worm, and this is often accompanied by a burning sensation.

The pain and discomfort lead individuals to seek relief by immersing the affected limb in water, which stimulates the worm to release its larvae into the water, thus continuing the cycle of infection.


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