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HEALTH

Cholera can be fatal as it spreads rapidly: Experts



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File Photo - Cholera outbreak in Krishnanagar, Kapilvastu

Kathmandu, Oct. 25: Experts have warned that Cholera can be fatal because of its contagious nature as it can infect a great number of people within a short time.

Nepal is a cholera endemic country as cases of infection of the disease are detected every year.

This year, the Cholera outbreak was first recorded at wards 7, 8, and 9 of Krishnanagar Municipality, Kapilvastu in the first week of October.

As per the Health and Population Ministry, the tests performed at both laboratories confirmed Vibrio cholerae 01 Ogawa serotype in the stool. E. coli bacteria have also been detected in drinking water samples of the disease-hit areas.

Four people including three children, and one adult male have died and 800 people have sickened so far, however, has yet to come under control because of its contagious nature.

According to Sher Bahadur Pun, Infectious disease expert of Sukraraj Tropical & Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) Teku, Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholera bacteria.

This virus had been observed in the patients in Krishnanagar as well, and contaminated water was believed to be the source.

Patients with Cholera develops symptoms such as vomiting, white stool disposal known as leg and stomach cramp after coming in contact with food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria. If the fluid is disposed for long time without treatment then it can be dangerous, He added.

“Rate of transmission and fatalities of severe Cholera is very high, however, it poses a greater risk of transmission even on mild cases.  Often, people in case of mild symptoms fail to recognize symptoms of mild cholera because of which they can transmit to other people,” said Dr Pun, “Cholera germs are excreted in the faeces of infected people for up to 10 days, so there is a risk of spreading cholera wherever the infected person goes.”

Currently, there has been a lot of travelling inside and outside cities. Due to this, the infection seen in one city or village increases the chances of transmission to another city village easily. Along with this, eating outside has been rising as well. "Especially, while talking about capital Kathmandu, a densely populated but unorganised city that has a high circulation of people, unorganised sewerage, and widespread use of unsafe commercial water, the risk of transmission of cholera is high.", Dr Pun added.

According to him mainly, infection of Cholera is often mild or without symptoms, but, can sometimes be severe and life-threatening. Mainly, 5 to 10 per cent of people develop severe cholera. If these people lack timely treatment within hours, then it can lead to fatality. Up to 25 per cent of fatalities have been observed in severe Cholera. 

 

Fatalities from Cholera can be reduced to one per cent

According to Dr Amrit Kumar Pokhrel of the Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Department (EDCD), fatalities from Cholera can be reduced to one per cent if given timely treatment.

“Simple measures must be adopted such as washing hands thoroughly with soap and water (especially after going to the toilet), intake of clean and safe food, and safe drinking water to avoid the risk of contraction of Cholera,” said Dr Pokhrel.

"Symptoms of cholera also look like diarrhoea caused by other infections, so a definitive diagnosis can only be made by laboratory tests. Therefore, one must visit hospitals after having symptoms of cholera." He added.