In a news release signed and issued to the Ghana News Agency, Dr Nsiah Asare, Director General of the Ghana Health Service stated that cholera was a preventable disease and that citizens must endeavour to ensure safe water was made available and proper sanitation practices adhered to.
He said the signs and symptoms of cholera were frequent diarrhoea with or without vomiting adding that it was usually spread when faeces and vomitus of an infected person contaminated the water or food of another person and was swallowed.
He said cholera could be prevented by improved environmental sanitation, personal hygiene, drinking safe water and frequent hand washing with soap under running water.
Dr Asare said people with suspected cholera should report to the nearest health facility without delay since early reporting saves live.
He said persons with cholera lose lot of water and salt rapidly and become very weak and extremely thirsty.
He suggested that persons must receive early treatment to minimise the weakness progress which could gradually lead to death.
“Protect yourselves and families from cholera and other diarrheal diseases by drinking and using safe water, use latrines or bury your faeces, cook food well (especially seafood), eat hot meals, keep food covered, wash fruits and vegetables before consumption and keep kitchens and places where family bath and wash clothes clean at all times”, he advised.
He noted that activities in slums (urban and peri-urban), poor environmental sanitation, poor personal hygiene, poor food hygiene, displaced populations with unsafe water supply and poor sanitation, floods leading to contamination of domestic water sources and broken down water and waste disposal facilities were the risk factors for cholera disease and outbreaks.
He urged infected persons to prepare a solution (Oral Rehydration Salt, ORS), and start taking it immediately, “go to the nearest health facility immediately”.
He also advised breast feeding mothers to continue breastfeeding even when they had watery diarrhoea, or traveling to get treatment.
Cholera is an acute watery diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Globally, it is estimated that 1.3 million to 4.0 million cases of cholera and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths due to cholera occur each year.
It is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera and is a global threat to public health and a key indicator of lack of social amenities such as safe water, hygiene and sanitation.
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