Once a cholera case got confirmed in an area, all other cases with similar symptoms would be treated as cholera

Cholera has resurfaced in the coastal locality of Pulluvila in the district after a gap of three years.

Cholera was reported last in the district in 2009 when one stray case of the disease claimed the life of a 75-year-old woman in Koppathuvila colony in Peringammala panchayat.

Apart from this isolated case, there had not been any cholera cases reported in the district since 2005.

Cholera was confirmed in an eight-month-old child from Puthiyathura, near Pulluvila, who was admitted to the SAT Hospital with acute diarrhoea on September 24 and discharged on September 28.

The infant’s sibling, a two-year-old boy, his grandmother, and two other children in the neighbourhood could also be having cholera as they had also sought medical care at the Pulluvila community health centre following symptoms of watery diarrhoea.

Once a cholera case got confirmed in an area, all other cases with similar symptoms would be treated as cholera.

Sanitation issue

A senior health official said cholera could spread like wild fire in a locality where the socio-economic conditions and hygiene were poor and there were no sanitation facilities and that preventive action had been strengthened.

The district health administration officials who visited Pulluvila and the nearby coastal areas launched intensive awareness classes among the community and asked ASHA workers to take up home visits to educate mothers about the need to maintain utmost personal hygiene, cleanliness, and care while handling food and drinking water as cholera could spread fast in a community through the faeco-oral route.

Caution

The IEC (information, education, communication) activities had been strengthened to make the public take precautionary measures such as washing hands with soap often, avoiding open defecation, careful handling of food and drinking water, keeping food properly covered and away from flies, use of only boiled water for drinking purposes, and seeking medical care as soon as diarrhoea or vomiting occurred.

Preventive measures had been strengthened and arrangements made to make available the services of a doctor round-the-clock at the Pulluvila health centre through the National Rural Health Mission.

All medicines, including doxycycline and oral rehydration salts had been made available at the centre and to the health workers.

Health officials pointed out that latrine facilities in this part of the coastal area were inadequate and that even in localities where latrines were available, most people living by the beach resorted to open defecation.

Samples of water from a common well in the area, which most people depend on, had been taken and sent for analysis to check if there was any faecal contamination.

Chlorine tablets had been deposited in all wells and bleaching powder sprinkled around the wells.

Health officials said arrangements had been made for the supply of safe drinking water in the area in tanker lorries from Monday.