After more than 20 years, cholera made its come back to Algeria, the fatal infectious disease reached so far 62 confirmed cases, two deaths, with another 173 suspected cases.
The first cases of the disease appeared in mid-August, Stirring Panic among Algerians, and while government officials warned against drinking from a spring a village of Tipaza province, doubting at first it was the source of the virus, Residents filmed themselves drinking from the spring claiming it is safe, and accusing the government analysis to be mistaken.
The Algerian health authorities have been trying to determine the source of virus with no success so far, and while The Health Ministry had earlier attributed its appearance to contaminated water in Tipaza State west of the capital , another official statement issued by local authorities in Tipaza State denied that.
The provinces where cases have been confirmed so far are Tipaza, Blida, Algiers, and Bouira, more than 130 people in theses places have been hospitalized with suspected cases of cholera.
Despite all official statements to reassure the public, “All preventive measures have been taken with a view to preempting the spread of the disease,” Health Ministry said in a statement, people have been panicking, and even mistaking other symptoms as stomach ailments for cholera.
Local media report people are now avoiding fruits and vegetables fearing that they may be contaminated with the cholera virus. Algerians are buying large quantities of mineral water, while Pharmacies reported that they have been selling large quantities of salts to treat diarrhea.
Panic spread to Morocco, and Tunisia, the Neighboring countries, where health ministries in both countries respectively issued statements asserting people about the following reports of outbreak in neighboring Algeria.
The Moroccan Health Ministry said Tuesday in a statement that no case of cholera has been registered throughout the country, the ministry said it had adopted “a raft of precautionary measures” to prevent the disease’s emergence in the country.
No cases of cholera had been documented in Morocco since 1997, but amid mounting reports of cholera cases in next-door Algeria, fear of the virus breaking through the joint borders with Algeria made its way even to local media.
Cholera causes severe diarrhea, it is potentially fatal if the sufferer does not receive proper medical treatment. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
Although, efforts have successfully reduced cholera cases in poor countries, cholera still a serious problem. At least 150,000 cases are reported each year by the World Health Organization.