Cholera deaths in Accra rise to six

The Regional Health Directorate of Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Friday cautioned residents to observe personal hygiene and adhere to advice provided by health professionals as the number of deaths from the cholera outbreak in Accra rose to six.

Speaking to the GNA in Accra, the Deputy Regional Director of Public Health, Dr Edward Antwi, said so far 505 cases had been recorded.

He said health workers in the region had stepped up their education programme to prevent more people from being infected.

The Health Directorate has also expressed worry at the turn of events due to the increase in the number of cases after the first case was reported on January 10 and reiterated its warning to residents to take precautionary measures to avoid contamination.

Dr Antwi said people with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting should rush to the nearest healthcare facility for treatment which is free.

He said there had been stakeholders’ meetings to find solution to the outbreak and health facilities in the region were well resourced and prepared to receive and treat all cholera cases with urgency.

Dr Antwi, however, pointed out that the best approach under the circumstances was prevention, since the disease could claim the life of an infected person before he or she could access healthcare.

The Head of the Regional Health Promotion Unit, Ms Honesty Numetu, said people in overpopulated communities characterised by poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water were highly at risk.

She mentioned other risk factors as poor personal hygiene, floods leading to contaminated domestic water sources and broken down water and waste disposal systems.

Ms Numetu said one could get cholera through eating food that contained cholera germs, eating fruits and vegetables, especially those watered with waste water, and also when fruits and vegetables eaten raw were not properly washed.

Other modes of transmission are drinking water contaminated with cholera germs, attending to persons with the disease and not washing hands properly with soap and water.

“It is important that hands are properly washed before eating, cooking, after visiting the toilet, attending to someone who has the disease,” she said, and added that touching a cholera corpse, materials or objects that contained the germ were equally harmful.

Ms Numetu cautioned the public not to patronise food contaminated by houseflies because they may be carrying the germ from infected stool.

Signs and symptoms of cholera are sudden onset of profuse painless watery diarrhoea, occasional effortless vomiting, rapid dehydration, severe muscle cramps, weak pulse, cold clammy skin, thirst and stupor.

Unhealthy practice such as selling food close to refuse dumps is a risk factor for the spread of cholera.

Cholera is an acute bacterial disease characterized by profuse diarrhoea and vomiting. Incubation period is about a minimum of two to 48 hours and a maximum of two to three days.

Source: GNA

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