Following confirmation of 322 cases of cholera in Karachi during the last five months, the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to procure cholera vaccine to immunize children in 10 most-affected Union Councils (UCs) in the city.

Cholera outbreak: WHO to immunise children residing in Karachi’s hot spots

An official of the Sindh Health Department said: “WHO has offered us to procure cholera vaccine following outbreak in Karachi. Most of the cases have been reported from 10 UCs in three districts, where this vaccine would be used to immunise children.” WHO officials in Karachi also confirmed that they were negotiating with different biotechnological firms for the procurement of cholera vaccine and added that they would be used in three districts, including South, Central and East from where most of the cholera cases were being reported. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with Vibrio cholera, and if not treated timely, acute watery diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and death.

Claiming that no death has so far been reported due to cholera in Karachi, the health department official maintained that the number of cholera cases were decreasing due to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs), including provision of safe drinking water but added that cases were still being reported from 10 hot spots in the city.

Infectious diseases experts said although cholera is an endemic disease in Pakistan, an unprecedented increase in the cases of cholera, an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water contaminated has been witnessed in Karachi, where hundreds of children and adults were brought to public and private hospitals for treatment in the last few months.

Officials at the National Institute of Child (NICH), Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital and Research Center (SIDH&RC) at NIPA, and Civil Hospital Karachi confirmed to The News that the city was facing the worst outbreak of cholera in recent years as hundreds of patients, including both children and adults, were brought to their health facilities for treatment.

“Although, cholera cases were being reported in Karachi for last several years but an unprecedented increase in cases has been observed in March, April and May,” said an infectious diseases expert, adding vaccine was not the standard option for prevention from cholera. “There is a need to provide safe drinking water and promote water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to prevent outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases,” the expert said. He added that supplying safe water for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene and household cleaning was very important.

Source: This news is originally published by thenews

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