With the arrival of hot and rainy season, the country of Mozambique is on the verge of a cholera outbreak, according to a O País report (computer translated).


Since September, the southern African nation has reported 479 cholera cases, including three fatalities. Health officials say most cases were diagnosed in Nampula province, particularly in the provincial capital (Nampula) and Malema district.

“We are on high alert status, because we already have cases of cholera in some provinces. Nampula, for example, has declared itself in a cholera epidemic. We are convinced that we must work more with sanitation issues of the environment and prevent increasingly people are diagnosed with this type of disease, “said Benign Matsinhe, Deputy National Director of Public Health.

Cholera, caused by  the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.

The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number ofmechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infectedindividuals. Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transportor during storage at home. Food can get contaminated by soiled hands, duringpreparation or while eating.

Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetableswashed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood.


Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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