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Cholera in Myanmar

14 Oct 2014

An outbreak of cholera has been reported from South Okkalapa township in the east of the city of Yangon, Yangon region in Lower Myanmar. Between 27 September - 8 October 2014, 380 individuals sought medical attention at a local clinic for gastrointestinal symptoms. Of those individuals, 234 were confirmed as cholera cases and 41 were referred to hospital for treatment.

Testing of water samples at the National Health Laboratory identified coliform and Vibrio cholerae bacteria in the township’s water supply. Health officials blame poor sanitation, overcrowding and lack of clean drinking water as the cause of the outbreak. The authorities have responded by chlorinating water, providing information on food safety and improving sanitation through better waste management, such as fly-proof toilets.

Advice for Travellers

Cholera is a very low risk for most travellers. Travellers to outbreak areas who will be mixing closely with the local population and cannot ensure safe drinking water can be immunised against cholera. A high standard of food, water and personal hygiene should also be maintained.