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Cholera Alert!!

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By Dr. Ramya V Raghavan, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield

 

The recent news on Cholera outbreak in specific areas has put the residents of Bangalore on a high alert. Public awareness concerning the spread of disease can help curb cholera. Precautions and timely treatment is very important to control an outbreak.

 

 Symptoms of cholera –

 

  • Profuse watery diarrhoea

 

  • Vomiting

 

  • Leg cramps and associated symptoms due to dehydration

 

  • Cholera can cause death due to dehydration within hours if not treated properly.

 

How is cholera spread?

 

  • Cholera is a caused by a bacterium called Vibrio Cholerae present in contaminated water and food

 

  • Cholera does not spread directly from one person to another. It is only spread via faecal contamination of water sources and food.

 

  • Cholera has a short incubation period from a few hours to around 5 days.

 

  • Around 75% of people carrying the cholera infection may not show any symptoms but shed the bacterium in their faeces/stools across 7 to 14 days causing infection to other individuals.

 

The following simple steps can protect you and your family from cholera:

 

  • Drink and use safe water.

 

  • Safe water is water that is bottled with an unbroken seal or water that has been boiled or treated via chlorine or other means.

 

  • Safe water should also be stored in clean covered containers.

 

  • Wash hands often with soap and safe water.

 

  • Cook food well. Keep all food items covered.

 

  • Always wash hands after using a latrine and before preparing any food.

 

  • Do not defecate in the open or near any water body. Bury the faeces or use a latrine.

 

Treatment for cholera:

 

  • First ensure patient is sufficiently hydrated via an Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution. In severe case, intravenous fluids will be needed

 

  • Appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed by your Doctor to shorten the duration of the disease

 

  • If any person presents with any of the cholera symptoms listed above, then they must immediately go to the nearest hospital or PHC.
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