07 Jan 2014 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 07 JAN (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) on Tuesday officially confirmed the outbreak of cholera in the Kunene Region.
Cholera is an acute illness with profuse watery diarrhea symptoms caused by Vibrio Cholerae sero groups, and is a highly infectious diarrheal disease.
The disease is transmitted mainly through feacal-oral route - that is through eating and drinking contaminated food or water.
A media statement issued here on Tuesday by MoHSS Public Relations Officer (CEO) Esther Paulus said three confirmed Vibrio Cholerae cases, and seven suspected cholera deaths (four deaths from the community and three deaths from the Opuwo District Hospital) have been reported.
Between 16 and 18 November 2013, numerous cases of diarrhea were being treated at health facilities in that region, and all patients with cholera-like symptoms were tested, and the results came out negative for Vibrio Cholerae.
The statement further said that from 02 to 12 December 2013, numerous patients with diarrhea were treated at various health facilities in that region, and specimen for tests were done on all patients with diarrhea and other cholera-like symptoms. Five patients confirmed Vibrio Cholerae.
The region had an overall 89 cases of suspected cholera during the period of 16 November 2013 to 05 January 2014, read the statement, adding that the Opuwo District Hospital currently has 56 suspected cholera patients admitted there.
The Health Ministry has sent out a team of health experts throughout the region for surveillance, treatment, health promotion, education and for referral of community members with suspected cholera symptoms to health facilities.
More health professionals are expected to be dispatched into the field as from Tuesday this week to areas that are not easily accessible.
Members of the public are thus urged to go to the nearest health facility, and drink as much fluids as possible if they suspect to have cholera.
The public is further urged to always wash their hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet, after cleaning a child or adult who passed stools, after disposing of a child's or adults stool, before and after eating, before cooking and handling food.
Thoroughly cook all food (meat, fish, frogs, vegetables). Only eat fruit that are washed with clean water or freshly peeled, such as bananas and apples, while ensure to boil water before drinking, and not allowing children or adults to pass stools close to water points, advised the ministry.
The public should practice safe disposal of human waste/stool using latrines and toilets, and should bury stools more than 10 metres away from water points.
Water containers at home should always be covered, and a long dipper/spoon should be used to remove water.
Cholera is preventable and curable if managed on time.