Beware of cholera in summer

The hot and humid summer weather favours bacterial growth. Public should pay special attention to food safety in order to prevent cholera infection through consuming food and drinks.

Cholera is an infectious foodborne disease caused by bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The incubation period of cholera is usually about two to three days and symptoms include sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea with rice-water like stool, vomiting and dehydration. If treatment is delayed or inadequate, death may follow.

A person may get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the bacteria. One of the main sources of contamination is the faeces of an infected person, and the disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water. Food may also be contaminated by soiled hands during preparation or while eating. In addition, the cholera bacteria may be naturally present in seawater, and people may get cholera after eating raw or undercooked contaminated seafood including fish, shellfish and crustaceans like shrimps and crabs. Food consumed raw, such as sashimi, vegetable salads and fruits are some of the high-risk food items.

In general, public are advised to take the following preventive measures:

Buying Food

Food hygiene at home

Personal hygiene

Environmental hygiene

Dining outside

Travel abroad