Fresh cholera cases worry health officials

Kathmandu, September 15

The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health Services recorded 10 more cases of cholera in Kathmandu Valley over the last two weeks.

This suggests that cholera outbreak has yet to be brought under control. At least 142 cases of cholera have been confirmed as of September 11 since it was first reported on June 30. “As many as 42 cholera (Vibrio cholerae Ogawa 01) cases have been confirmed by National Public Health Laboratory, Teku since 30 June. Of them, 24 cases have been reported from Kathmandu, 110 from Lalitpur, one from Bhaktapur and seven from unidentified places,” said a Weekly Bulletin issued by the EDCD.

A medical doctor at Teku-based Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital said it was one of the worst cholera outbreaks in the Valley in recent years. The cases of cholera are almost double the last year’s tally of 80. However, no deaths have been reported.  This has worried officials.

The EDCD had deployed a medical and technical team in vulnerable areas to assess the situation. The team found that contaminated water was the only reason behind the outbreak. The team said poor sanitation and personal hygiene were factors that contributed to the spread of the disease. Officials also sent water samples collected from more than 30 places to laboratory for tests.

According to health officials, of the over 600 stool samples, 142 tested positive for cholera. Patients who tested positive for cholera were admitted to the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital and other hospitals. The patients were rushed to hospital after developing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache and loose bowel movement.

Cholera is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The bacteria has a very short incubation period of two hours to five days. Rehydration therapy, which includes taking oral rehydration solution, is the recommended way to deal with the disease.

Meanwhile, a total of 240 cases of scrub typhus, including seven deaths, have been reported from 35 districts over a period of one month, said EDCD. Seven persons died while undergoing treatment at the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, and Chitwan Medical College.

Similarly, two cases of Malaria (Plasmodium Vivax) were reported this week in Dhankuta and Terhathum districts.

The EDCD has also recorded two cases of Kala-azar this week, one each from STIDH, Teku and United Mission Hospital, Palpa. The cases are from Okhaldhunga and Arghakhanchi districts.