Cholera, a water-borne disease, can lead to severe dehydration and swift death if not treated promptly. It is especially dangerous for children, sick and elderly people.
The Ministry of Public Health provided medicine and other assistance during cases of cholera to successfully bring the outbreak under control.
What is cholera?
Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by the ingestion of faeces-contaminated food or water. The disease causes watery diarrhoea, which can swiftly lead to severe dehydration and death. Victims usually also suffer from vomiting.
Why does cholera spread so quickly?
Cholera is easily transmitted and the number of infected people can rise very quickly. In places where sanitation is poor, the infected waste can get into waterways and infect water used by people. After floods or droughts, people are forced to use unsafe water for drinking, washing and cooking.
Cholera is rarely spread directly from person to person.
What should I do if I suspect I have cholera?
The most important treatment is rehydration with clean or sterilized water. Early rehydration can save the lives of nearly all cholera patients.
Most can be rehydrated quickly and easily by drinking large quantities of a solution of oral rehydration salts. In severe cases antibiotics might be needed.
People who suspect they have cholera should seek medical advice if it is available.
What can I do to protect myself and my family?
Make sure that your drinking water is clean. All water used for drinking, washing or cooking should be sterilized before use. This can be done by either boiling, chlorinating, solar water disinfection or antimicrobial filtration.
One of the most important things is to carefully wash hands with soap after defecating and before handling food or eating. Safe preparation and storage of food is also of utmost importance.
Even if cholera rarely spreads directly from person to person, wash your hands after visiting a place where people have cholera.
The best way to prevent babies from having diarrhoea and the diseases that cause it is to feed them solely with natural milk.