PH: Cholera downs 45, kills 1 in Catanduanes province

20170112110000, Martina C

A cholera outbreak in the province of Catanduanes, Bicol region has downed 45 people and claimed one life in a span of five days, in what health officials think may have been due to the typhoon that hit the area on Christmas Day.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Hazel Palmes confirmed the death. She said they continue to monitor the situation of the other victims to make sure there will be no more fatalities. The outbreak is likely the result of water contamination, an aftermath of the damage left by Typhoon Nina that battered the region.

The disease is spread when water is contaminated by the bacteria vibrio cholerae. It causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration. In some cases, death results particularly when no treatment is administered within a few hours after diagnosis, even when patients were previously healthy.

In industrialised countries, cholera is no longer a severe public health problem largely because technological advancements have paved the way for modern sewage and water treatment systems.

While it can be fatal, cholera can be treated using rehydration solutions.

Symptoms may appear within 24 hours to five days after a person is infected.

Safe water, good sanitation and proper hygiene are needed in the prevention of cholera. Consequently, risks are highest in areas which are crowded, poverty-prone, and damaged by natural disasters.

In the Philippines, data on cholera is sparse, but authorities suggest identification of areas prone to such outbreak could lead to drafts of better preventive measures.

From 2008 to 2013, there were over 29,000 cases of suspected and confirmed cholera, reported from 96 sentinel hospitals.

Worldwide, there are 3 to 5 million cases of cholera, with 100,000 to 120,000 deaths annually.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said they are supporting the training of health personnel in the sub-national level to enhance the country’s response to such outbreaks. MIMS

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