Cholera outbreak feared in Kathmandu
Kathmandu: Two individuals in Kathmandu were infected with cholera on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health and Population. Two sisters, ages 18 and 23, from Kathmandu Metropolitan City-28, Bagbazar, were found to have the disease.
“Vibrio cholera 01 Ogawa serotype has been confirmed in stool samples of the patients,” said Dr Manisha Rawal, director at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, where the patients have been receiving care.
According to experts at the infectious disease hospital, several cases of probable cholera have been detected in the Valley recently.
Cholera is a highly contagious disease that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, dehydration, and, if left untreated, death within a few hours. Cholera is a global threat to public health, according to the World Health Organization, and an indicator of inequality and a lack of social development.
On Thursday afternoon, the two sisters were admitted to the hospital. Before being admitted to the hospital, the patients were said to have had a lot of bowel movements, up to 30 in a day. Antigen tests of their stool samples had come back positive for cholera at the Kathmandu Model Hospital, where they were taken first.
Doctors at the hospital referred the patients to Sukraraj Hospital as their conditions were critical.
The individuals were unconscious when they arrived at the hospital, according to Rawal, and were admitted to the intensive care unit. “Their health needed more than 24 hours to normalize,” Rawal said. “They are no longer in danger.”
The contaminated patients’ stool samples were sent to the National Public Health Laboratory for confirmation. Both samples were found to be infected with the fatal disease, according to the lab.
Three more people have been admitted to the Sukraraj Hospital’s intensive care unit with severe diarrhoea, which is one of the symptoms of cholera, according to the hospital. They are a 50-year-old from Sanepa in Lalitpur, a 65-year-old from Kuleshwor in Kathmandu, and a 28-year-old from Sindhupalchok who works in Kathmandu. Stool samples from the patients were also sent to the National Public Health Laboratory for testing.
Doctors warn that excessive rains and waste collection disruptions in the Kathmandu Valley have raised the potential of contamination of drinking water sources and, as a result, outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
Last October, a Vibrio cholera outbreak in numerous Kapilvastu district local units claimed the lives of at least four people, including three minors—boys aged seven and two, and a five-year-old girl. A 45-year-old male was also infected.
After all other measures to contain the spread failed, the Health Ministry started a mass vaccination campaign against the disease.
The UN health agency says that a multifaceted approach is key to controlling cholera and reducing deaths.
According to doctors, launching water-borne disease awareness campaigns and ensuring safe drinking water are the only strategies to prevent people from dying from water-borne diseases such as cholera.
According to experts, containing the spread of the infection will require a combination of surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilization, and treatment.