Unregistered tiger nut drinks caused Lagos cholera outbreak – Govt

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, has disclosed that unregistered tigernut drinks have been traced to be a major cause of the Cholera outbreak in the state. 

In a chat with Punch, Ogunyemi said most of the patients who came for treatment said they took a particular tigernut drink in Eti-Osa local government area. 

In her words;

When there’s an outbreak like this, we have Environmental Health Services officials from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment who go around ensuring that the environment is kept clean. So when we noticed an increase in cases in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos specifically, we went there to investigate. 

We carried out 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 drink. 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. 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. The phone number on the bottle was not reachable. From our investigations, we realised that the beverages were not registered, so 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.”