Cholera – Pakistan

A report on the cholera endemic in Pir Koh area of Balochistan province, Pakistan has been submitted to the prime minister. The report said that a total of 3,615 patients had been fully recovered and only three patients were currently under treatment.

According to the report, the disease spread after people used the water from a natural spring of Pathar Nullah in Pir Koh, Dera Bugti. Measures were taken to contain water use from the same spot and after water chlorination, the place was opened for usage.

Funds were provided by the provincial government for the provision of medicines and two medical camps were set up in Pir Koh area on emergency basis. The report further said that laboratories were also set up in the area whereas teams were constituted to launch door to door awareness campaign. The presence of local administration was also ensured. For the provision of safe drinking water, Rs 100 million were immediately released and PDMA provided tanks to store 4,000 gallons of clean water.

The report further indicated that short- and long-term planning had been made to cope with such incidents in the future.

Photo: Vibrio tasmaniensis bacteria, a close relative of Vibrio cholerae.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The main risk is severe dehydration, this happens sometimes within hours.

It is spread mostly by unsafe water and unsafe food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria. Under-cooked seafood is a common source.

Risk factors for the disease include poor sanitation, not enough clean drinking water, and poverty.

Cholera affects an estimated 3–5 million people worldwide and causes 28.800–130.000 deaths a year. Areas with ongoing risk include Africa and South East Asia, where it occurs in outbreaks.

Descriptions of cholera are found as early as the 5th century BC in Sanskrit.

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