Only the public can stop cholera outbreak — DG
Posted on August 5, 2012, Sunday
BINTULU: The cholera outbreak here can only be overcome if members of the public take their personal hygiene seriously, said Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman.
He said as of last Friday, there were 624 suspected cases, while 110 patients had tested positive for the bacterium Vibrio cholerae and were hospitalised.
“The transmission is still active and we are still reporting new cases. The public need to cooperate and participate otherwise they will also be at risk.
“If you just leave the preventive measures to the government and Health Department, our activities are only confined to those who come in for health screening,” Dr Hasan told a press conference after attending the Bintulu Hospital Health Carnival yesterday.
He strongly advised the public not to buy drinks with ice such as cordials because the water used to make the ice may not have been boiled.
“We appeal to the public not to buy contaminated food. If the place is found to be dirty, please don’t buy there because this is very clear, indicating that they are not good in their personal hygiene and don’t care about health,” he said.
Although there have been no deaths or critical cases reported, Dr Hasan cautioned that things could deteriorate if the people do not practise good personal hygiene, especially when preparing food, and take symptoms lightly.
He advised parents to realise that uncontrolled diarrhoea can kill within hours if left untreated. Babies under a year old were among infected patients.
Symptoms to look out for include vomiting, watery diarrhoea and fever.
“If you have symptoms please come to the nearest polyclinics, don’t worry about the bills, it’s free as it is an infectious disease and to be effective we need cooperation from the public.
“If people don’t cooperate, there is a possibility it will spread to other areas as well, for example if one felt unwell but still continues his travels to other places without seeking treatment,” he said.
On the latest outbreak, the first known patient infected by the disease here was a Bintulu Regatta participant from a longhouse. It is believed that participants did not practise good hygiene and used water from Sungai Kemena that was already contaminated with bacteria from human waste.
Dr Hasan added that hospitalised patients would be supplied with medicines for at least three days until their excrement samples indicated negative for bacteria.