The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi Department of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology

Reported by: Ch. Muhammad Natiq Ubaid

Infection Alert: Diarrheal Illness
In conjunction with the Emergency Department at AKUH Karachi, over the last 3 to 4 weeks we are seeing an increase in the number of patients presenting with diarrhea from the community. This includes a cholera-like illness, leading to severe dehydration and kidney shutdown.

  To protect yourself and your family members, please note the following:

How does it spread?
Drinking water or eating contaminated foods.
Eating raw or under cooked food.

Prevention Measures at home
Only drink boiled water. Water should be at full boiled for at least 1 minute.
Use different cutting board for meat.
Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling meat.
Thoroughly wash any fruits or vegetables which will be eaten raw without peeling. Rinse with drinking water after washing.
Wash hands with soap and water before cooking food and after using the toilet.

When eating out
Only eat hot, cooked food, especially take care with meat which has been BBQ’ed.
Avoid food which may have contain or have been in contact with un-boiled water.

Examples are
Chutneys, raita or other food containing water.
Salads and vegetables which may be unwashed.
Icy deserts like slush, kulfi, homemade ice cream etc.
Do not drink water unless you are sure it is safe.
Carbonated drinks are safer.
If water is consumed, use sealed bottled water from a well-known company.
Do not add ice to the drinks.

For admitted patients, Personal protective equipment’s (PPE) required
Use Contact Precautions for diapered or incontinent persons for the duration of illness.

Health tips:
Consult your doctor if you have fever, blood in stools, severe diarrhea, or if you are elderly or with a low immunity.
Avoid antibiotics including Metronidazole (flagyl) unless instructed by your doctor.

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