Lusaka District has confirmed 4 Cholera cases by way of stool culture coming from Kanyama area though now it seems the wider Lusaka has been exposed as cases are now including other parts of the district.
The trigger was a death at home of an 18 months old child who was taken to UTH as a BID and whose close contacts presented with sudden onset of diarrhoea and vomiting on the 6th February 2016 at Kanyama Health Centre and UTH. Since then 29 Cholera cases have been line listed. A treatment centre has been opened at Kanyama Health centre.
What is Cholera?
Cholera is one of the infectious diseases caused by a bacterium known as Vibrio Cholera. The illness is characterized by acute type of signs and symptoms such as abrupt onset on painless, feverless diarrhoea (watery or “Rice Watery” stool with mucus flakes floating), vomiting and dehydration (Schneider, 2011). Cholera is mostly spread from person to person through oral-faecal route due to contaminated water and food coupled with poor personal hygiene (Schneider, 2011). Ingestion of bacteria can also be facilitated by consumption of raw or undercooked food such as salads. However, person to person transmission of Cholera has rarely been reported (Hanson et al). The unpredictable onset and impact it has on personal and social life is very unique such that it cannot be compared to most diseases.
In an area where there is a Cholera epidemic, any person presenting with 3 or more liquid stool (diarrhoea) with or without vomiting in 24hours is a Cholera suspect.
This is a patient presenting with the above symptoms where the Laboratory confirmation has been obtained.
BID (Brought In Dead)
The person arrives at the health facility with no signs of life. If the patient is in a gasping state, this is not BID. In Cholera, even some minutes are enough for one to start recovering if hydration is started immediately.
Prevention and Treated of Cholera
Cholera, like most infectious diseases can be prevented by avoiding ingestion of contaminated food and water. However, this has been difficult to achieve especially in areas where people live in poor socio-economic conditions (Ghose, 2011). The bacteria that causes cholera now known as Vibrio Cholerae was identified as a comma shaped bacteria by Robert Koch in 1854 in Calcutta (India)
Treatment is done:
· By the provision of antibiotics to eliminate the Vibrio Cholerae.
· Isolating patients with confirmed cases of cholera to avoid further transmission of the disease.
However, Schneider, (2011) mentioned that public health measures should include both routine preventive and emergency measures if a disease has to be contained. Other than preventive measures, surveillance should be ongoing as this is the tool that keeps public health at alert and call for actions such as treatment of confirmed cases as well as contact tracing and prophylaxis to the suspects every time there is an outbreak of Cholera (Schneider, 2011).
Efforts should be directed to the majority of the population that live in unsanitary conditions prone to infections by emphasizing on prevention other than treatment (WHO, 2011).
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Vibrio Cholerae
Signs and symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting with dehydration
It is transmitted through eating and drinking contaminated food and water respectively.
It doesn’t affect animals but only human beings
Preventive measures focus on personal hygiene such as
· Warming food before eating
· Drinking clean boiled water which has been kept clean to cool
· Washing hands before eating food, after visiting the latrine or after changing baby nappies
· Avoid eating raw, undercooked or cold foods
· Avoid buying uncovered foods sold on the streets
· Sensitizing others on the above through health promotion.