WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHOLERA
1. What is Cholera?
Cholera is a diarrhoeal disease caused by a germ. The germ is found mostly in faeces and it spreads when a person drinks water or eats food that is contaminated with the cholera germ.
2. What are the symptoms and signs of cholera?
• Onset of cholera is sudden
• Diarrhoea, which is profuse, painless and watery
• Vomiting may occur
• Patients are thirsty, tired and weak
• Loss of body fluid occurs rapidly and that may lead to death
3. How is Cholera Transmitted?
The cholera germ is commonly spread by, contaminated fingers/hands, flies, water and food. Cholera transmission is from faecal matter to the mouth through the ingestion of:
• Water contaminated with faeces, vomitus of patients and to lesser extent faeces of carriers
• Contaminated foods (milk, cooked rice, beans, eggs seafood etc.)
• Fruits and vegetables – especially those irrigated with waste-water (sewerage garden) and when contaminated fruits and vegetables are eaten raw.
4. What are the sources of contamination?
• Hands and bodies of asymptomatic cholera patients/carriers.
• Contaminated articles (buckets, cups, cloths and clothes etc.)
Protect yourself from getting cholera by observing the following:
❒ Wash your hands with soap under safe running water before eating, cooking or after visiting the toilet
❒ Drink safe water
❒ Eat hot food and avoid cold food
❒ Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating
❒ Food handlers should wash their cups, plates and cutlery sets with soap and safe water regularly before use
❒ Food handlers should cover food for sale.
❒ People with acute diarrhea should start drinking ORS and immediately visit the nearest health facility
From Ministry of Health, Ghana