KATHMANDU, Nepal — The cholera outbreak that has claimed 13 lives in the remote west of the country prompted Nepal to issue a warning for foreign travelers.
AFP reports that visitors were urged by GD Thakur, director of the Himalayan nation’s epidemiology and disease control department, to drink boiled or mineral water and “pay attention to their personal care and hygiene”.
“There have been 13 deaths in two months in Doti district in western Nepal but now the situation is under control,” Thakur said.
“For the last 15 years there have always been a few cases of cholera in Nepal in the rainy season. Since mid-April we have detected 15 cholera cases in Kathmandu but there have been no deaths.”
Nepal is nearing the height of its monsoon season, when diarrhoea-related illnesses normally spike because of contaminated water sources.
Cholera is caused by bacteria in water or food, which has usually been contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.
If untreated it can kill within a day through dehydration, with the old and the young the most vulnerable.
According to AFP, healthcare facilities in most of Nepal’s western districts, including Doti, are primitive, with farm workers often living in dirty, cramped conditions without electricity or access to clean drinking water.
“Foreign visitors who plan to come to Nepal should not worry because the situation is completely under control. We request them to pay attention to their personal care and hygiene,” Thakur said.
“We encourage them to drink either boiled water or mineral water and not to eat leftover food. The department is very vigilant and there is nothing to worry about.”