According to the World Health Organization , more than 20,900 cases and 166 deaths from cholera have been reported in Ghana as of October 5, 2014. Many cases have been in the Greater Accra region, including in the districts of Accra Metro and La-Dadekotopon.
CDC recommends that travelers to Ghana protect themselves from cholera by following food and water precautions.
What is cholera?
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 is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or handled by a person ill with cholera.
Often people have mild illness or no symptoms. However, about 1 in 20 (5%) of 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.
What can travelers do to prevent cholera?
Travelers can protect themselves by following food and water precautions. The risk for cholera is very low for people visiting areas with epidemic cholera. When simple precautions are observed, contracting the disease is unlikely.
- Drink only bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water and bottled or canned carbonated beverages. When using bottled drinks, make sure that the seal has not been broken.
- To disinfect your own water: boil for 1 minute or filter the water and add 2 drops of household bleach or ½ an iodine tablet per liter of water.
- Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and clean water.
- If no water and soap are available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Clean your hands especially before you eat or prepare food and after using the bathroom.
- Use bottled, boiled, or chemically treated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, or make ice.
- Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.
- Do not eat raw and undercooked meats and seafood or unpeeled fruits and vegetables.
- Dispose of feces in a sanitary manner to prevent contamination of water and food sources
- Cholera in CDC Health Information for International Travel -“Yellow Book”