County government health officials have reported a number of cholera cases in Nairobi. The bacterium that causes cholera is usually found in water and can be transmitted through contaminated food, fruits and drinking water. The current rains and the poor drainage system in the city could affect the spread of cholera but we can all do our part in ensuring we stay safe.
According to the World Health Organisation, Cholera is an extremely virulent disease that can cause severe acute diarrhoea. It takes anywhere between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms after ingesting contaminated food or water. Symptoms may include profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. Due to the rapid loss of body fluids the infected person may experience dehydration and shock. It is advisable to be aware of the symptoms and seek immediate treatment at a hospital should they present.
We believe ‘prevention is better than cure’ and there are a number of good hygiene and sanitation measures you can take to stay safe in the event of an outbreak:
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them. If you can peel fruits before eating, even better.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water at all times. This includes washing your hands before and after eating, after visiting the toilet and before handling food.
- Avoid walking in the rain through puddles of water. These puddles of water may contain the bacterium that causes cholera.
- Drink only boiled or treated water
- Use clean or treated water to brush teeth, wash dishes, bathe or to prepare food
- Avoid raw and undercooked meat and seafoods during this period.
- If you’re eating out, ensure it’s somewhere hygienic with access to clean water. You may want to think twice about eating at the roadside ‘kibanda’
If however you suspect that you or someone you know may have contracted cholera, or is showing symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.