An outbreak of cholera in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province has infected 1492 people, one of whom has died of the illness, according to the Associated Press and ABC News. The outbreak began on August 10, in the mountain village of Chappa in the Darayen district. The village was quarantined after 850 people had been infected.
Cholera is an intestinal infection that causes watery diarrhea and often vomiting, which can lead to serious dehydration and death, if left untreated. It is acquired through the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Because of its method of transmission, cholera poses a threat to many developing countries with poor sanitation and limited access to clean drinking water.
Treatment for cholera primarily involves rehydration therapy to replenish lost fluids and salts, according to the CDC. In more severe cases, antibiotics may be used to reduce an individual’s fluid requirements and zinc supplements may be used to treat children. Although there are two oral cholera vaccines available, the protection they give is incomplete and short-term. Instead, recommended prevention measures include using safe water (boiled or treated with chlorine or bleach), cooking food thoroughly, using latrines or burying feces in the ground, and washing hands frequently with soap and safe water.
Abdul Marouf Rasekh, a spokesman for the governor of the province, reports that the source of infection for this outbreak has been identified as a contaminated spring that serves as the drinking water supply for Chappa. Despite the fact that only 12 percent of Afghans in rural areas have access to clean drinking water, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), cholera outbreaks are not particularly common.
Infected individuals are currently being treated and clean water is being brought into the quarantined town. Teams from the WHO, UNICEF, and Merlin are assisting health care teams in the area to provide treatment.
Cholera Outbreak in Northeast Afghanistan. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/cholera-outbreak-northeast-afghanistan-19943690
Cholera – Treatment. http://www.cdc.gov/cholera/treatment/index.html
Cholera outbreak infects over 1400 people in Badakhshan province. http://www.khaama.com/cholera-outbreak-infects-over-1400-people-in-badakhshan-province-1745