Situation in Malawi
- Affected districts: Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Kasungu, Dowa, Salima and Lilongwe – as of 17th January 2018
- Four deaths – as of 17th January 2018
- 274 registered cases – as of 17th January 2018
- All neighbouring countries (Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia) have been hit by cholera.
What is cholera
- Cholera is an intestinal infection-vibrio cholerae
Signs and symptoms
- Diarrhoea – faeces look like rice water
- Abdominal cramps
- Rapid dehydration
- If untreated, cholera causes death from dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and hypovolemic shock
- Feco-oral transmission route – eating food or drinking water contaminated with faeces of an infected person.
- Incubation period (2 to 5 days), but can be as early as 2 hours from the time of infection.
- In some cases, a person may ingest cholera bacteria, pass it on to others without the transmitting person getting infected.
- An infected person can be infectious for 7-14 days.
- 75 percent of infected persons do not develop symptoms.
- Drinking untreated water or eating poorly cooked food in endemic areas.
- Poor sanitation facilities with inadequate sewage disposal.
- Poor hand hygiene practices especially after using the toilet
- Contact with infected person (dead or alive)
- Drink safe water – mineral, boiled or chlorine-treated water
- Wash hands before eating food or drinking anything, and after toilet use
- Wash fruits well and peel them before eating
- Do not eat outside home—avoid food from big gatherings when there is a cholera outbreak
- Avoid visiting areas where there is an outbreak
- Eat only freshly cooked foods
- Avoid flies at home, cover food and chase flies away from food
- Cut your nails for easy cleaning
- Avoid cooked foods from vendors
- Eating canteens – buy only freshly cooked food and follow all preventive measures
- When doing field work with poor accessibility to safe water – i.e. carry your own water and follow all preventive measures.
- Start ORS – you can also make your own ORS by adding 8 teaspoons of sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt to 1 litre of safe water
- Go to Hospital
- Cholera is both preventable and treatable
- 80 percent of cases can be treated by ORS alone