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Health Office issues cholera advisory

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Health Office issues cholera advisory | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) has issued an advisory for the public to exercise caution regarding food cleanliness following a surge in the number of cholera cases nationwide.

PPHO Chief Dr Wanchai Sattayawutthipong said Phuket is among 40 provinces with reported cases of cholera. “There have been 62 reported cases of the disease in Phuket, but the situation is under control and less widespread than in other provinces, such as Ranong, where more than 200 cases of cholera have been reported,” he said.

Cholera is caused by a bacteria, which can enter the body through contaminated food or water. “The bacteria that causes cholera was found in raw cockles being consumed in Kon Kaen but cockles from Phuket have turned up negative in recent lab tests,” Dr Wanchai added.

He advised that the best way to avoid contracting cholera was to avoid raw meats and unhygienically prepared food, especially seafood such as shrimp, and food that had been left a long time.

“The main cause of cholera is from consuming raw or unclean food. This can include food from street vendors that has not been hygienically prepared or food which is no longer fresh or has been left too long in a plastic bag or other container,” said Dr Wanchai.

He said that so far, cholera has not been found in the Phuket water supply but advised that tap water should be boiled before it is consumed and customers should read the labels of bottled water. “When buying bottled water, consumers should look for the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or OrYor label. ‘Clean Food Good Taste’ certification displayed at restaurants is an assurance that their food preparation and cooking methods are hygienic,” he added.

The PPHO has issued the following guidelines outlining the causes, symptoms, preventative and post-infection measures.

Causes

Raw meats, especially raw seafood.

Unclean seafood

Boxed food or food left in plastic too long.

Food from unhygienic street vendors and markets.

Unhygienic food preparation

Not washing hands before preparing and eating food

Not washing hands after visiting the toilet

Symptoms

Diarrhea and vomiting causing exhaustion and dehydration, which also leads to darkness around the eyes, dry lips and low blood pressure.

Treatment

Dehydration is caused by the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to death, especially in very young and elderly people. The PPHO advises the following treatment for people who have contracted cholera and are suffering from diarrhea:

Consume soups and rice water with salt added and drink as much water as possible to prevent dehydration.

Babies should be breastfed more often than usual and mineral supplements dissolve in their milk.

Babies fed powdered milk should continue being fed the normal mix supplemented with electrolyte drinks, which should be consumed separately.

Adults and children over six months old should be fed easy-to-digest food, such as rice soup and boiled fish and meat. Minerals lost through dehydration can be replaced with electrolyte packs available at most pharmacies.

Homemade electrolytes can be made with two tablespoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in boiled water and left to cool. Make and drink each batch in same day

Antibiotics or antiseptics should be taken only under medical supervision as unnecessary consumption could result in the bacteria’s resistance to the medicine and prolonged illness.

Do not use laxatives as this will prevent the body from fighting the bacteria, which will actually stay in the intestines longer.

These measures are usually sufficient to combat the disease but if symptoms persist, then please see a doctor or contact the PPHO.

Contamination prevention measures

Eat only well-cooked food that has been hygienically prepared and avoid cross-contamination from shared cutlery when eating with others.

Drink FDA-certified drinking water and ice cubes or boiled tap water.

Ensure personal hygiene by washing the hands after using the toilet, before meal preparation and before eating.

Babies should be breastfed.

Babies’ milk bottles should be cleaned frequently.

All food should be washed, including fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ensure garbage bins are sealed to keep flies away.

Cover food when it is not being eaten.

Use gloves when handling food.

Food should be re-heated before consumption.

People with cholera should not cook.

Cuts on the skin must be properly bandaged when preparing food.

 

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