Ten Cholera Cases in Capital

Ten cases of cholera have surfaced in Phnom Penh this month, but health officials cautioned Monday it is too soon to know whether there is an epidemic.

There have been no deaths, and health officials said 90 percent of the cases have been mild.

“There might be more out there but people don’t have to be very worried,” said Dr Marcus Rimon, an associate professional officer at the World Health Org­anization.

Rimon said the cases were reported between July 4 and Thursday. The sufferers are be­tween the ages of 2 and 53.

Sihanouk Hospital-Center of Hope on Monday reported two cases. Both sufferers are from the same family and one was admitted in serious condition.

Dr Eng Huot, the Ministry of Health’s director general, said five confirmed cases are at Kan­tha Bopha Children’s Hospi­tal

WHO adviser Dr Daniel Perez said he believed this is the first time cholera has been reported in the capital since 1995, but added that cases often go unreported.

Rimon said because the cases are spread across the city, it is difficult to say if they are sporadic or signal the start of an outbreak.

Eng Huot said one sufferer is from Stung Mean­chey district, and several others from Tonle Bassac. Two come from Phsar Kandal commune, Rimon said.

Cholera is a bacteria in contaminated water or food and is carried by internal body fluids, including feces and vomit. Death usually comes from dehydration and fluid loss, health officials said.

The border town of Poipet suffered a cholera outbreak in June and July with more than 200 suspected cases and 24 suspected cholera deaths.

Rimon said health officials have been broadcasting public health announcements on the radio and distributing chloranine tablets for water purification to homes near the houses of cholera sufferers.

Suspected cholera victims should immediately see a doctor and take in lots of fluids—either oral rehydration salts for mild dehydration or intravenously for more serious cases. Self-administered antibiotics are not recommended, Rimon said.

 

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