TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--As the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Double Ten Day holidays approach, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) urged the public to avoid consuming raw fish and oyster and undercooked shellfish to prevent cholera as the agency announced this year’s first indigenous cholera case on October 3, 2017.
The case is an over-50-year-old male who resides in central Taiwan, according to Taiwan CDC. In late September, he developed abdominal pain, diarrhea and watery stool, and was hospitalized after seeking medical attention, Taiwan CDC said in a statement, adding that laboratory tests confirmed infection with V. cholerae O1 Ogawa in the case.
According to the epidemiological investigation, the man does not consume raw food and drinks only boiled tap water. However, his family uses the same chopping board for both raw and cooked foods. On the day of symptom onset, he consumed clams he bought from the market. To identify the possible source of infection, the local health authority is conducting further investigation. As of now, the man is still hospitalized for treatment. None of the contacts residing in the same household has developed any suspected symptoms, according to Taiwan CDC.
As of October 3, a total of one indigenous cholera case has been confirmed in Taiwan, which is the lowest during the same period in the recent five years (2012-2016), Taiwan CDC said, adding that the numbers of indigenous cases confirmed in the last five years respectively are three, five, four, eight, and eight.
Cholera is an acute bacterial enteric disease with sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid loss of body fluids that leads to dehydration, acidosis, and circulatory collapse. The incubation period can vary from a few hours to five days with an average of 2-3 days. Transmission of cholera typically occurs by consuming food or water that is undercooked and contaminated with the feces of an infected person or carrier. Without treatment, the fatality rate for severe cases can be over 50%. With early and proper treatment, the fatality rate can be lowered to below 1%.
As the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Double Ten Day holidays approach, the opportunity for barbeque gatherings increases, Taiwan CDC reminds the public that the cholera bacteria (Vibrio cholera) survive well in water and may remain viable in shellfish and crustacean. To prevent infection, avoid consuming raw fish and oyster and undercooked shellfish. The public is advised to consume thoroughly cooked food, store food safely and refrigerate when necessary, avoid cross-contamination—mixing raw food with cooked food, and drink only boiled or bottled water.
Taiwan CDC urged people with suspected symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.