Cholera is very commonly found in Africa. You speak of a cholera outbreak (or epidemic), if a disease becomes widespread in many areas at the same time, and more people are getting sicker than usual. Unfortunately, cholera outbreaks are associated with higher death rates.
WHY DO EPIDEMICS HAPPEN?
Epidemics occur in areas with a high population density and crowded living conditions, poor sanitation and decreased access to health care. An outbreak can happen if many people have low immunity. This occurs if there was an incidence of another illness, which means that individual’s defence mechanisms are reduced. When that happens, the body simply cannot fight the pathogen. People infected with HIV have low immunity, which makes them more prone to develop cholera.
Cholera is a waterborne disease, so a lack of clean water increases the risk of an outbreak. Furthermore, there are significantly higher cholera rates after natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. Food and water supplies become easier contaminated with a bacterium during natural disasters and wars.
PREVENTING THE SPREADING OF CHOLERA IS CRUCIAL
Every culture has different funeral practices. However, cleansing a colon of a cholera victim before burial should not be done, because it can contribute to the spread of a disease to a whole household and even to neighbours. Eventually, a whole community can get ill and an outbreak develops because the pathogen is transmitted to more people.
Lastly, mass vaccination of a population against cholera reduces the risk of an occurrence of a cholera outbreak. Mass vaccination campaigns are done in areas in which cholera outbreaks are known to occur.