At least seven cases of cholera have been confirmed and another three suspected cases are being investigated in Malappuram district, according to a Kerala news source.

Vibrio cholerae/CDC
Vibrio cholerae/CDC

It appears the infections were contracted through food bought from a local eatery which may have used contaminated water in the preparation.

Malappuram district medical officer Ummarul Farooq said: “We have begun damage control exercise and have cautioned the locals that they should be careful with the quality of the water they use and also food items they buy.”

In addition to the cholera outbreak, health officials have been tackling a diphtheria outbreak in the district.

Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Water is contaminated by the feces (stool) of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food may be contaminated by using water containing cholera bacteria or by a person whose hands are contaminated with the cholera bacteria.

Often people have mild illness or no symptoms. However, about one in 20 (5%) infected people will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.