Cholera Spreading ! …12,622 People Infected,110 Dead

Some of the cholera patients on admissionThe recent cholera epidemic in the country has, as of last Friday, claimed 110 lives, with a total of 12,622 people infected in seven regions.

The Northern, Upper East and West Regions have so far not recorded any infections.

About 63 districts in the Greater Accra, Central, Eastern, Volta, Ashanti, Western and Brong-Ahafo regions, have been affected, with the Greater Accra Region alone recording 11,864 cases, with 92 deaths in about 20 districts.

A Public Health Specialist with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Emmanuel Dzotsi told The Ghanaian Times in an interview in Accra yesterday, that the recent cholera outbreak had spread rapidly along the coastal areas of the country.

The Central Region has  recorded 11 deaths, with 540 cases, the Eastern Region, but no deaths; Volta and Ashanti regions have six and one death with 135 and 30 cases,  respectively.

The Western and Brong-Ahafo Regions had not recorded any deaths but had recorded 23 and 21 cholera infections as of Friday.

According to Dr. Dzotsi, the situation was worse in the Greater Accra region because most people travelled to and from the other regions to Accra for business and other purposes daily, contracted the disease from Accra and spread it along the coasts.

He mentioned inadequate water supply, poor sanitation and open defecation as the risk factors which had contributed to the widespread of the disease within a short period.

“These risk factors had confronted us as a nation for all these years, and most people rely on sachet water which poses a major threat for the disease infection,” he said

He observed that improper handling of the sachet water have contributed immensely to the spread of the disease especially in communities which have sanitation.

Dr. Dzotsi said the lack of toilet facilities in most homes in the Greater Accra Region and most of the public’s dependency on food and drinks sold on the streets, was also a major source of the fast spread of the disease,

He stressed that the issue of cholera could not be solely addressed until the risk factors were addressed and sanitation laws enforced.

The Medical Doctor called on the Ghana Water Company to ensure that clean water was provided to every citizen, and the Ministry for Local Government and Rural Development to also ensure that sanitation measures were enforced.

He further cautioned the public to avoid patronizing food from street vendors, stressing “street vendors do not have enough water to wash hands and plates very well”.

“He said cholera prevention is simple; wash your hands regularly, eat food while hot, and eat from decent places”.

The cholera cases have been recorded in almost all hospitals in Greater Accra, with the health facilities converting their Out-Patients’ Department into cholera wards, as part of efforts to keep the situation under control.

Besides, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of the disease infection had exceeded the limits of 1.0 per cent set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to 2.6 per cent as of the 13th week of infection.

By Linda Aryeetey 


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