Zimbabwe Government has placed a ban on public gatherings in Harare in an effort to reduce the growing number of cholera exposed patients in the country. The death toll has risen to 38 as of 19 Sept and the WHO has announced that it will expand it’s operations to help with efforts to contain the outbreak. Dr Brian Chirombo of the WHO has confirmed that the government has been transparent and quick to seek support in addressing the outbreak. This is not the first time that Zimbabwe has experienced cholera outbreaks as back in 2009 over 4000 lives were lost to the epidemic so it is clearly something worthy of attention from not just Zimbabweans but all Southern Africa residents.
So what should you know about cholera and what can you do to avoid it?
Well first and foremost cholera is fatal if not treated right away but if detected can be treated by a medical professional because it is an infection of the intestine caused by water borne bacteria. If not treated it causes diarrhoea and can result in rapid dehydration.
How is it spread?
– Drinking water or food that is infected with the bacteria
What are the symptoms?
– Symptoms may occur from a few hours to 5 days after being infected
– Vomiting may occur
– In severe cases: muscle cramps, cold sweaty skin, rapid breathing
How to protect yourself from cholera:
– Drink clean/ purified water
– Wash hands and utensils thoroughly with clean/purified water
– Boil water from rivers; boreholes; streams; dams; wells and tanks
– Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean/purified water
– Cook food well
– Store food under hygienic conditions (keep covered)