Everything you need to know about the Cholera outbreak in Lebanon
Cholera outbreak continues to spread in Lebanon. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium "Vibrio Cholerae". It can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, and can spread quickly in areas with limited access to basic services like clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. If left untreated, the disease can be deadly within just hours of infection as it can cause severe dehydration.
Severe watery diarrhea, often without fever, may lead to dehydration.
Symptoms of dehydration:
- Decreased skin elasticity
- Eyes drooping
- Weakness or fatigue
The methods of preventing cholera infection:
- Drink or use safe water
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds
- Cook food very well
- Avoid eating food exposed to insects and flies
- Maintain cleanliness of the house, especially toilets and garbage places (use of chlorine)
- Avoid drinking from the same vessel as others
- Maintaining personal and food hygiene
- Wash fruits and vegetables well by leaving them in a container with chlorine added in specific proportions
- Avoid eating raw meat
- Sterilization of water used for drinking, washing and cooking by:
- Boiling for ten minutes
- Chlorine treatment
When a case of cholera appears, you must:
- Isolate the patient and get rid of feces by hygienic methods.
- Sterilize all contaminated materials such as clothes and bedding by using chlorine and water.
- Cleaning and sterilizing hands that come into contact with the cholera patient or his clothes, etc., with chlorinated water or other effective antibacterial agents.
- Monitor contacts of the patient for five days from the last contact with the patient.
- Sterilization is done by chlorine (free of scented and contains 5.25% chlorine).
Cholera is treated with oral rehydration salts (ORS). If it is not available, oral rehydration salts can be prepared at home in the following manner, provided that clean and safe water is used:
- Half a teaspoon of table salt
- 6 full teaspoons of sugar
- 1 liter clean water
“UNICEF is employing every effort to support the government to ensure the safeguarding of children and their families”
How is UNICEF helping?
Cholera outbreak was announced on 6th October, and UNICEF has scaled-up its response:
- Procured emergency medical supplies including 182,000 Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and 50 Cholera Treatment Kits to support treatment of 5,000 cholera cases
- Delivered Chlorinated Trucked water, wastewater desludging and ensured disinfection in informal settlements with suspected or confirmed cases.
- Responded to misinformation and promoted awareness and healthy hygiene practices to ensure integrated response and intervention.
- Trained frontline workers and partners on cholera awareness, including transmission, symptoms, treatment, prevention and referral mechanisms. And reached communities through awareness messages on Cholera prevention and treatment in high risk and vulnerable areas.
- Distributed fuel to main water pumping stations and waste-water treatment stations in locations with confirmed and suspected cholera cases
- Dispatched Periphery Cholera kits to hospitals and medical centers identified as Cholera treatment centers.
Distributed in hotspot areas and informal settlements Disinfection Kits and Chlorine Family Hygiene Kits.
Replaced essential pumps, repaired holding tank and Tripoli lifting station to allow for safe disposal of wastewater.
- Distributed chlorine to the Water Establishments in South Lebanon, North Lebanon and Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
- Conducted Cholera awareness sessions in public and private schools in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
“Concrete measures must be taken to prevent the spread of cholera cases in Lebanon”