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Outbreak of diarrhea, cholera

By: Via Email Posted: July-06-2010 in
Via Email

An outbreak of diarrhea, some of which is due to cholera, has been reported in at least 11 provinces across the country, including the capital Phnom Penh and Rattanakiri in the northeast. Around 4,000 cases are suspected.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 60 people have died and at least 20 out of 24 provinces have reported cases. The outbreak is attributed to contaminated water. The Ministry of Health has mobilised health care workers to treat those affected.

The Disease
Cholera is an intestinal infection. The bacterium is spread through food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person. One to five days after infection, patients develop severe, painless, watery diarrhea, often called "rice-water" stools. Vomiting also occurs in most patients.
Usually, the symptoms are relatively mild and respond to oral rehydration. Severe cases of cholera (10-20%) can cause life-threatening dehydration. Treatment involves oral and/or intravenous fluid replacement and antibiotics, which reduce the volume and duration of diarrhea.
All travelers to Cambodia should pay strict attention to hygiene and be vigilant in their choice of food and water.
Cholera epidemics tend to occur in areas where sanitary conditions have deteriorated, such as refugee camps and war zones. With the exception of health and relief workers, cholera rarely infects travelers who avoid highly unsanitary areas.
* Drink only boiled or bottled water, water that has been treated with chlorine or iodine, or carbonated beverages.
* Avoid ice, as it may have been made with unsafe water.
* Choose food that has been thoroughly cooked while fresh and is served hot.
* Avoid street vendors, pre-peeled fruit or salad, fish and shellfish.
* Medical personnel and relief workers traveling to cholera-infected areas should consider being vaccinated against cholera.
* Wash your hands with soap before you eat and after you use the toilet.

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