Cholera outbreak in Kerala: Health dept adopts measures to contain and prevent disease spread

Updated - July 10, 2024 01:11 pm IST

Published - July 10, 2024 11:54 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala Health department has moved in quickly to launch preventive and control measures after an outbreak of cholera was confirmed at a private care home at Neyyattinkara in the capital district.

A 26-year-old inmate of the care home had died on Friday following severe vomiting and diarrhoea and it was initially thought that it was a case of food poisoning. But on Sunday, one more inmate of the care home, a 11-year-old child, who developed acute diarrhoea was admitted to the SAT Hospital and it was later confirmed as a case of cholera.

While this is the only laboratory-confirmed case of cholera in the current outbreak, several other epidemiologically linked cases have turned up from the care home. Ten persons are now admitted at Government Medical College hospital, while five others were also admitted at an isolation ward that has now been opened at the Iranimuttam hospital at Neyyattinkara. In all, 16 persons are currently undergoing treatment in hospitals

The Additional Director of Health Services and the District Medical Officer visited the care home on Tuesday to assess the situation. As soon as cholera was confirmed, health officials from the Perumbazhuthoor family health centre had visited the care home and given the necessary instructions for control measures. Water samples have been collected from the institution for analysis to isolate the source of infection.

The Health department has set up a rapid response team to monitor the situation and to provide necessary medical assistance.

District Medical Officer, Bindu Mohan, said that all preventive and control measures are in place and that Doxycycline is being administered to the care home inmates and other residents as prophylaxis. Health officials were watching closely if more people were developing symptoms

The care home authorities had sent home some 18 inmates after the outbreak began and the Health officials are contacting each of these inmates to monitor their health and to check if at all they develop any symptoms. The household contacts of these inmates have been asked to be extremely careful and to maintain utmost hygiene so that the disease does not spread.

Health officials said that as of now, no other suspected cases of cholera have been reported from anywhere in the locality and it looked like a confined outbreak. The condition of the child admitted at SAT Hospital was satisfactory.

Some of the children in a school attached to the care home had also displayed some symptoms of diarrhoeal disease and they are also being treated and are being kept under observation. Preventive measures have been put in place in the school also.

Awareness and surveillance are crucial in preventing the spread of cholera . Cholera is an extremely virulent acute diarrhoeal disease which can kill within hours if left untreated. It spreads through the ingestion of contaminated food or water.

Medical attention should be sought if the symptoms, such as vomiting or watery diarrhoea are severe, as dehydration can be dangerous. Treatment with oral rehydration salts, intravenous fluids and antibiotics can prevent death.

The disease is highly contagious and it can spread rapidly among close contacts and in places such as camps if hygienic precautions are not followed scrupulously.

Not everyone infected with cholera develops serious symptoms but the infective bacteria will be present in their faeces for up to 10 days after the infection and this is shed into the environment.

Handwashing with soap, safe preparation and storage of food, drinking only boiled and cooled water are important precautions to be adopted to prevent water-borne diseases

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