A cholera outbreak hit Algeria in August with 86 confirmed cases, two deaths, 221 hospitalized people, and six affected regions. It had been 22 years since this country had been affected by such a strong contagion. Every year, between 1.3 and 4 million people are affected by this disease worldwide. Due to a lack of hygiene, cholera spreads especially in developing countries or in conflict zones.
On its website, the WHO (World Health Organization) points out that “although this disease is no longer a threat in countries with minimum hygiene rules, it still represents a challenge in countries that cannot guarantee access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation conditions. Almost all developing countries face cholera outbreaks or the threat of epidemics.”
Cholera causes diarrhea and vomiting, it can be easily treated with rehydration, but can also kill within hours if left untreated. The authorities’ action has been highly criticised in Algeria, mainly because they reportedly acted late and tried to minimize the seriousness of the situation.
The cause of the cholera outbreak in Algeria found
The authorities first thought that the cholera outbreak in Algeria was indeed related to water sources, before going on the trail of fruits and vegetables that can be irrigated with contaminated water. Finally, the Algerian Ministry of Health said this week that the bacteria came from a river that crosses three regions affected by the epidemic.
Although the cholera outbreak is now under control, simple hygiene rules still need to be adopted to protect people against the disease. Many tips are addressed to Algerians in the media, such as bleaching storage water but also washing fruits and vegetables with clean water before eating them.
As a general rule, there are a few basic guidelines to follow to avoid contracting cholera epidemics when traveling. Namely, you should pay attention to the water you drink, avoid ice cubes, as well as eating raw or undercooked food products. Also, wash your hands with hydro-alcoholic solutions as often as you can.