PAPAR: The public have been advised to observe strict personal hygiene and ensure the food and drinks they consume are free from contamination after 20 cholera cases were detected in the district this month.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, in issuing the advice, said four of the patients had been discharged while 14 were still being treated at Papar Hospital.
She said 18 of the cases were detected at the Temporary Detention Centre while the remaining two at Taman Limau-Limaun.
“I would like to remind everyone in the affected areas to always emphasise on cleanliness especially when preparing food. Cholera is known to thrive in unhygienic environment, so it is vital that everything is cooked and prepared properly,” she said.
Rosnah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Papar, said however there was no reason to panic as the outbreak was under control and measures were being taken to prevent further infections.
She said no new cases or suspected infections had been detected since early last week.
“Although there is an outbreak, there is no reason for the community here to panic as the situation is totally under control,” she told reporters after officiating at the Program Kem Jejak Univeristi (KEJU) at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) Kota Kinabalu in Kinarut yesterday.
She said the latest cases were detected on Tuesday last week and involved two patients from Taman Limau-Limaun who were suspected to have been infected after consuming food they bought at the Petagas night market.
The two were discharged after receiving outpatient treatment as they were not active carriers, she added.
Rosnah also advised the public to reduce contact or visit to family members who were infected with cholera to avoid catching the potentially deadly bacteria themselves.
Among cholera symptoms are profuse but painless diarrhea and vomiting of clear fluid, and these symptoms usually start suddenly, one to five days after infection.
If the severe diarrhea is not treated with intravenous rehydration, it can result in life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
The diarrhea is frequently described as “rice water” in nature and may have a fishy odour, and untreated persons with cholera may produce 10 to 20 litres of diarrhea a day with fatal results.