Officials say at least 134 others may be infected in the state of Adamawa where nurses are on strike and many have been displaced from war, making it difficult to deal with an outbreak of such magnitude.

A woman takes an oral cholera vaccine in a hospital. But cholera vaccines are not always effective and never long lasting.
A woman takes an oral cholera vaccine in a hospital. But cholera vaccines are not always effective and never long lasting. (Reuters)

A cholera outbreak has killed 12 people and may have infected at least 134 others in the northeast Nigerian state of Adamawa, a medical official said on Wednesday.

"So far 12 people have died from the disease and there are many more cases", said Ezra Sakawa, medical director of the general hospital for Mubi, the town where the disease has struck.

"We have little manpower to deal with an outbreak of such magnitude," Sakawa said, adding that nurses were on strike.

A senior official at the state health ministry Bwalki Dilli, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the ministry with the support of other partners like WHO had set up a 24-hour treatment centre at Mubi General Hospital.

He urged the public to be on alert and observe personal and environmental hygiene, adding that the state emergency operation centre had dedicated toll-free telephone lines for reports and enquires on health emergencies.

Fight against ebola

The outbreak comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced its collaboration with the Nigerian government on precautionary measures at various seaports, land borders, airports and other entry points to prevent the Ebola virus from entering Nigeria. 

Northeast Nigeria is ground zero for Nigeria's nine-year war against Boko Haram militants and its offshoot, now Daesh's West Africa ally.

The conflict has spawned one of the world's largest humanitarian crises, with millions of people displaced and in need of aid to survive.

Those conditions are ripe for any outbreak of disease, such as cholera or Ebola, to be deadly on a wide scale, humanitarian workers say.

Source: Reuters