Government officials have placed Harare on Cholera HIGH ALERT following the deaths in Chegutu and evidence that some of the mourners in the Cholera stricken town were Harare residents.
What is Cholera?
WHO defines it as an acute infectious disease of the small intestine, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae and characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, severe dehydration, and depletion of electrolytes – It can kill within hours if left untreated.
It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms after ingesting contaminated food or water.
- Most people infected with V. cholerae do not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria are present in their faeces for up to 10 days after infection and are transferred back into the environment, potentially infecting other people.
- Among people who develop symptoms, the majority have mild or moderate symptoms, while a minority develop acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. This can lead to death if left untreated.
Prevention and Control
A multifaceted approach is key to control cholera, and to reduce deaths – with greater emphasis on PREVENTION that is always better than cure. A combination of surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilisation, treatment, and oral cholera vaccines are used.
Cholera is an easily treatable disease. The majority of people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). The WHO/UNICEF ORS standard sachet is dissolved in 1 litre (L) of clean water. Adult patients may require up to 6 L of ORS to treat moderate dehydration on the first day.
Rapid access to treatment is essential during a cholera outbreak.
Zinc is an important adjunctive therapy for children under 5, which also reduces the duration of diarrhoea and may prevent future episodes of other causes on acute watery diarrhoea.
Breastfeeding should also be promoted.
In October 2017, GTFCC partners launched a strategy for cholera control Ending Cholera: A roadmap to 2030. The country led strategy aims to reduce cholera deaths by 90% and to eliminate cholera in as many as 20 countries by 2030. IT’S OUT HOPE THAT ZIMBABWE IS WORKING ON ENSURING WE ARE ONE OF THE 20 COUNTRIES.
We must work together in our communities to ensure better prevention and control during this Cholera outbreak. Does this immediate concern change or affect your thoughts on street vendors in Zimbabwe?
Content Credit: WHO
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