News reports this morning announced of a possible cholera outbreak in Bloemhof in the North West province Pass of Exile. Over 200 people have been admitted to local clinics since Monday, showing typical cholera symptoms which include severe diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps and dehydration.
Cholera is often contracted by drinking contaminated water, and this possible outbreak is thought to be the result of a burst sewerage pipe – which may have contaminated the local water supply. Lab tests have yet to confirm that it’s definitely cholera, but we should know within the next day or two for certain.
How serious is it?
If a person contracts cholera, and doesn’t get treated for it, it can lead to severe dehydration – which requires hospitalisation. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can develop within a few days of infection or within a matter of hours. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, then get to nearest clinic or hospital as soon as possible.
Am I at risk?
Cholera is most common in areas with poor sanitation, overcrowding and lack of access to clean water. Food and water can become contaminated – which is why it spreads so quickly.
How is it treated?
The sooner a person gets treated, the better. Immediate treatment for mild cases includes oral rehydration solution to help prevent dehydration and shock. In more serious cases, antibiotics are given to treat any underlying infection.