Cholera outbreak in Neyyattinkara hostel: Health dept steps up vigil

Health Minister Veena George. Photo: Screengrab/ Manorama News

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Health Department has initiated action to curtail the spread of Cholera across the state capital after an inmate of Neyyatinkara Karunya Mission Special School hostel tested positive for the disease. Manorama News reported that 16 inmates of the hostel are currently under treatment with symptoms of Cholera. Thiruvananthapuram District Medical Officer Dr Bindu told media that only one cholera case is confirmed and test results of the patients who are under treatment are awaited. 

Anu (26), an inmate of the hostel died after experiencing similar symptoms and diarrhoea. His post-mortem results are still pending to determine if his death was also due to the bacterial disease. 

Health Minister Veena George said on Tuesday that preventive measures were intensified in the Neyyattinkara area after some inhabitants of the private special school hostel sought treatment at the hospital with cholera symptoms. Following the minister's direction, the Additional Director of Health Services visited the site and assessed the situation. 

"Initially, the care home residents suspected food poisoning. However, when the disease was reported, the Medical Officer of Perumpazhuthoor Primary Health Centre immediately responded and took necessary measures. Samples, including water, have been sent for examination to identify the source of the disease," according to a release from the health department. 

The health minister has directed that samples from those showing symptoms be sent for testing as soon as possible. Facilities have been arranged at the Iranimuttom hospital's isolation ward to treat cholera patients. The release said some care home inmates have returned to their homes and will be monitored. If they or their family members show symptoms, their samples will be tested and treatment will be ensured. Some children in a school attached to the institution have also shown cholera symptoms and will receive expert care. Preventive measures have been put in place in the school as well, the release said. The health department emphasised that awareness is crucial for preventing cholera. 

"If symptoms like severe diarrhoea, vomiting, or dehydration occur, immediate medical attention is necessary. Effective antibiotics are available to treat cholera, a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae," it said. If left untreated, it can spread rapidly. Even if symptoms subside, the patient can still transmit the disease for several days, the health department release cautioned. The disease typically spreads through contaminated water and food. The bacteria can enter the body and cause the disease within a few hours to five days, it added. 
(With PTI inputs)

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