Cholera Outbreak in Jos: Expert Issues Public Health Advisory
Dr Solomon Chollom,
Health authorities in Plateau state have raised alarm over the outbreak of cholera in the state. The state commissioner for Health, Dr Nden Lar reported over the weekend that the disease has already claimed six lives with thirty three others hospitalized from five Local Government Areas of the state following it's laboratory confirmation through rapid diagnostic tests and culture.
To this end, it is expedient for the general public to be informed of the imminent health hazard and risk mitigation mechanisms
First, Plateau citizens need to know that there is cholera outbreak in the northern zone of the state and food and water are the vehicles of transmission. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Vibrio Cholerae and presents classically with severe diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. It is important to note that the diarrhea is characteristically watery and contains flakes, akin to boiled rice in water. This is popularly called rice water stool
The public is hereby advised against the continuous practice of open defecation as infected faeces is easily washed into water bodies, thereby contaminating them, serving as health hazard to unsuspecting users.
The public is also advised to practice good hand hygiene especially after using the toilet. Proper cleaning of the anal region after defecation is essential, just as thorough hand washing with soap under running water
Another possible source of spread of this disease is the consumption of food in public places where the process of preparation or handling does not suggest optimum hygiene practices.The public is thus advised to restrict eating out to places that food, water and handling hygiene is guaranteed
Also, there is need to pay close attention to fruits and vegetables as they serve as ready vehicle for the transmission of the bacteria. This begins from where they are sourced, washed, packaged and sold. Transmission through poorly prepared salad and fruits is likely. It is advisable that fruits and vegetables be soaked and washed well in salted water if they must be consumed.
Lastly, in the event of any abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and/or vomiting, the public is strongly advised to seek prompt medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment It should be noted that symptoms of cholera begin to manifest after two to three days of consumption of contaminated food or drink. With profuse diarrhoea and vomiting comes dehydration. This saps vital organs including the brain of fluid, leading to onset of shock, comma and death within a very short time