Cholera Outbreaks Underline the Importance of Health Training

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW AND BERNICE BORN

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n the past few years, cholera outbreaks have occurred in Haiti and Yemen and now in Zambia. Why does a disease that has been treated and controlled successfully since the 1800s continue to plague populations around the world?

 

The answers are civil unrest, natural disasters and a general lack of knowledge about cholera. These conditions affect low-resource communities already isolated and underserved. The knowledge factor is where WiRED International comes in. WiRED provides 400+ health training modules — critical training tools for health problems facing people worldwide — and offers them free on the web and soon through a one-of-a-kind distribution system.

 

In 2016 WiRED launched a health education module on cholera in English, French and Spanish in a rapid response to an outbreak in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused when the intestine is infected by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae after contaminated water or food is ingested. The majority of people with cholera become dehydrated, and dehydration can be treated successfully through prompt administration of a simple remedy called oral rehydration solution or ORS. Without treatment, death can occur within hours. (See WiRED’s module on diarrhea and dehydration.)

 

WiRED’s Cholera Module presents a general introduction to the disease and its prevention, transmission, symptoms, treatment and complications. The WiRED program also contains a technical section designed for medical professionals that gives them information about cholera treatment and vaccines. While the long-term solution for the prevention of cholera remains access to safe water, hygiene promotion and sanitation, oral cholera vaccines can play an important role in outbreak prevention and control, and in long-term control of cholera.

 

Communities facing the threat of infectious diseases need to prepare in advance to take the steps necessary to avoid or minimize the impact of illnesses on their people and institutions. To this end, WiRED has prepared a special series of training modules to help people in communities understand their roles in preparing for an infectious disease outbreak and in coordinating their efforts against it.

 

WiRED believes that it is unacceptable that anyone should contract or die from cholera. WiRED’s mission is to deliver health information that will prevent cholera and other infectious diseases and will enable people to treat these conditions when necessary.

 

 

 

 

Quiz Questions from WiRED’s Cholera Module

 

1. Which of the following, when served at room temperature, can lead to transmission of cholera?

 a. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit
 b. Eggs
 c. Grains such as rice, millet or sorghum
 d. Tomatoes

2. True or false: Eating raw shellfish can lead to cholera infection.

 True
 False

3. What causes muscle cramps in a person with cholera?

 a. Clenching of muscles
 b. The rapid loss of salts
 c. Eating infected food
 d. Being bedridden for long periods

 

 

 

 

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