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SASTM Newsflash - Cholera, diarrhea and dysentery update: Africa and Asia


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SASTM Newsflash






Cholera - Uganda

Cholera has broken out in Bundibugyo District, in camps accommodating refugees who fled fighting between the Congolese and alleged rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Mr Mathias Kisembo, a clinical officer at Nyahuka Health Centre III, said they had 15 cases of cholera by Monday [15 Jul 2013], with the most affected being children under 5 years. "More than 50 children are also admitted with malaria at this facility and we lack enough drugs," he said yesterday.


As more refugees continue to enter Uganda, military sources said Ugandan security officials are keeping a close watch on the identities and activities of the refugees to ensure that insurgents do not enter the country disguising to be refugees.


At least 10 primary schools in Bundibugyo have closed after they were occupied by refugees. Bundibugyo District chairman Jolly Tibemanya on Monday [15 Jul 2013] said they have to 1st re-empty the school toilets or build new ones so that schools can re-open.


Meanwhile, President Museveni, who is traversing districts in the Luweero triangle to popularise the wealth creation programme, has assured Ugandans of security. "We have built a very strong army. No one can destabilise Uganda. Whoever tries to do so will be defeated decisively," he told a rally at Dwaniro Sub-county headquarters on Sunday [14 Jul 2013].


Cholera – Namibia

Namibian health workers are frantically trying to contain the outbreak of cholera in Angola from spreading to the Kunene Region in Namibia.


So far, 3 people have been admitted and treated for the highly contagious disease in the far north-western Kunene Region.


The victims -- all Angola nationals -- were individually admitted to Opuwo District Hospital since [30 Jun 2013].


Kunene Regional Health Director Tomas Shapumba told New Era yesterday

[16 Jul 2013] that one of the patients, a 37-year-old woman, has already been discharged from hospital. The 2 other patients, a male aged 54 and a 25-year-old woman, are still hospitalised and their conditions remain stable.


According to the regional health director, the 2 victims are showing cholera symptoms and they are at the moment being treated as cholera patients.


The admitted victims are from Okozondumbu and Okozongava villages in Angola and they were both 1st treated at Otjimuhaka Clinic, a Namibian clinic at the Otjimuhaka border post, before they were transferred to Opuwo District Hospital.


"The situation is exacerbated by the reported [cholera] outbreak in Angola. So far the situation is under control. So far we have beefed up the disease surveillance.... At the moment, we are examining all people that are passing Otjimuhaka border post from Angola as part of disease prevention measures," said Shapumba.


Shapumba further said some of his directorate officials are in the field, educating people on hygiene and cholera prevention measures.


Cholera is a disease spread by a bacterium called _Vibrio cholerae_, which is commonly spread through drinking contaminated water.


"Its chief symptom is severe watery diarrhoea, with rice-water appearance stools that sometimes contain blood. Other symptoms are vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal cramps," Shapumba said.


Although there is no cholera vaccine in Namibia, the disease can be prevented if people properly wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet, if they boil drinking water and use water purification tablets, if they properly wash fruit and properly cook their food and if people avoid using the bush as an alternative to toilets.


Shapumba also advised people [who] may find themselves in the situation where they suspect being infected with cholera to drink a lot of clean water, to stay isolated when possible and to get to hospital as soon as possible.


Cholera - Pakistan

At least 5 people, 2 of them children, have recently died of cholera, and over 20 people are suffering from it in Panjpai tehsil of Quetta district [Balochistan Province] near the Afghan border.


The deaths have occurred in Pashtoon Kot area, some 70 km [about 43 miles] from here, in the absence of any emergency medical aid, according to sources. The condition of 20 people suffering from the disease is said to be critical.


A local tribal elder expressed the fear that outbreak of cholera might cause loss of life at large scale. "The doctor and paramedics deployed at the basic health centre in Panjpai live in Quetta and are rarely seen at the centre," he complained.


Officials of the provincial health department are unaware about the outbreak of cholera and loss of lives in Panjpai, as they have sent no medical teams to the affected area.


Last year [2012], outbreak of the disease had killed hundreds of people, mostly children, in flood-hit districts of Nasirabad, Jaffarabad and Jhal Magsi where waterborne diseases were reported at a large scale because of consumption of contaminated water by local people.


Cholera - India



Waterborne diseases continue to ail Mumbaikars as 8 more cholera cases have been detected in the past 7 days. Gastroenteritis, too, has seen an overwhelming rise at more than 1300 cases in the 1st 15 days of July [2013].


Lately, several patients suffering from acute gastroenteritis have suffered renal failure, requiring dialysis.


Manisha Mhaiskar, BMC's [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation] additional municipal commissioner, said, "There has been a visible increase in cases of cholera and gastroenteritis. We have 16 cases of cholera in all. The fresh cases are from the same areas where the previous ones were reported." Mhaiskar added that volunteers have been collecting water samples.


Diarrhea - Nepal (Kathmandu, Central Region)


Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) said that the hospital has crossed its occupancy limit with all beds packed with the patients suffering from diarrhea, snake bites, viral fever, typhoid and other diseases.


Doctors at the hospital say that the rise in the number of patients suffering from different communicable diseases is caused by monsoon and the rising temperature. "The beds at our hospital are mostly occupied. Every day over 20 diarrheal patients visit the hospital," Dr Rajesh Shah of the hospital said. He said that the diarrheal patients tend to visit hospitals only when they become serious. In normal stage, they consume medicines and oral rehydration at home.


According to Dr Shah, poor people are more vulnerable to communicable disease. "Most of the patients admitted in our hospital are from the poor background, who cannot afford hygienic food and water," he added.

Such people usually do not have access to proper sanitation and are more likely to eat at cheap hotels that serve unhygienic foods.


With the rise in diarrheal patients, the hospital has been operating separate gastro ward. Diarrheal disease and the viral fever result from adulterated food and water.


Likewise, cases of snake bites have been soaring in recent days. On Monday [15 Jul 2013] alone, 23 snake bite patients have been admitted at the hospital. "On an average, over 15 snake bite victims visit the hospital every day," Shankar Pandey, a senior auxiliary health worker at the hospital, said. Pandey said that mostly people who work in the fields become victims of snake bites.


He asked the people to be conscious about the snakes while working in the fields. He also asked people not to be careless about what they are consuming.


Meanwhile, administration of the Kanti Children Hospital said that children suffering from viral fever and diarrhea have been thronging the hospital.


Communicated by: Promed Mail



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The information provided in SASTM Newsflashes is collected from various news sources, health agencies and government agencies. Although the information is believed to be accurate, any express or implied warranty as to its suitability for any purpose is categorically disclaimed. In particular, this information should not be construed to serve as medical advice for any individual. The health information provided is general in nature, and may not be appropriate for all persons. Medical advice may vary because of individual differences in such factors as health risks, current medical conditions and treatment, allergies, pregnancy and breast feeding, etc. In addition, global health risks are constantly evolving and changing. International travelers should consult a qualified physician for medical advice prior to departure.

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