BEWARE OF CHOLERA THIS EASTER, WARNS GAUTENG DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The Easter period is full of many religious activities including the rite of baptism
that many Christians undergo during this time. It is for this reason that the
Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) calls on faith-based organisations to
not put their members at risk and to rather conduct their baptisms in safer
Cholera thrives in unhygienic conditions including untreated water especially
from rivers and dams. The recent confirmed four cases from the province
involves people who had taken part in separate baptism activities at local
“Although the laboratory results of the samples taken from the rivers
concerned came back negative of the Cholera strain the risk of contracting
this disease is still high for people who conduct their religious ceremonies in
rivers and dams,” explains Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness Nomantu
The MEC further advised people who will be travelling into Cholera endemic
regions to take precautionary measures. Gauteng is currently sitting at 11
confirmed Cholera cases with one death.
Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae,
and the outbreaks usually occur in settings with inadequate sanitation and
insufficient access to safe drinking water. Cholera typically causes acute
watery diarrhoea and can affect people of all ages.It mainly spreads through contaminated/polluted water. People can become
infected directly through drinking contaminated water, or indirectly through
eating contaminated food. The infection is often mild or without symptoms but
can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.
Symptoms ranges from mild to severe and watery diarrhoea and dehydration.
The incubation period (the period from when the person ingests cholera-
contaminated water/food to when they first become ill) ranges from few hours
to 5 days, usually 2 to 3 days. Most persons infected with cholera will
experience mild illness or not feel ill.
Although, cholera is often predictable and preventable. People are urged to
ensure proper hand-hygiene which includes thorough washing of hands with
water and soap before and after using the bathroom/toilet and preparing or
eating food. The use of only safe or disinfected water for preparing food,
beverages and ice is recommended to prevent possible cholera transmission
include. Safe disposal of human excrement and nappies is recommended.
The department is urging the public to visit the nearest health facilities when
they present with mild to severe and watery diarrhoea and dehydration
symptoms, so they can receive treatment.
The Outbreak Response Teams remain on alert with advocacy and education
work continuing especially targeting communities.