The death toll in Nigeria from a cholera outbreak has risen to 479, with more people losing the battle against the disease, health authorities said Tuesday.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the cholera epidemic has spread in 15 states since January this year, including the country’s capital, Abuja.

Over 19,000 people in the country have been diagnosed with cholera since January.

The failure to meet the need for clean water in the country and the inability to carry out prompt and effective medical intervention increases the risks of the epidemic and deaths.

Epidemics such as malaria, polio, typhoid and monkey smallpox are common in Nigeria.

Cholera is a water-borne life-threatening disease. An estimated 1.4 billion people are at risk for cholera globally, with 2.8 million cases and 91,000 related deaths occurring annually.

Developing countries are disproportionately affected because of their lack of resources, infrastructure and disaster preparedness systems.

In Nigeria, cholera is an endemic and seasonal disease occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and more often in areas with poor sanitation.

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