[EDITORIALS]Attack Cholera With Prevention

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[EDITORIALS]Attack Cholera With Prevention

Deadly cholera is spreading rapidly through the nation. Additional cholera patients were discovered in Taegu and Gimpo, Kyonggi province, on Thursday, just after a week after people with the disease were detected in Yeongcheon, North Kyongsang province. As more patients are found in other regions, health authorities are worried that residents may be acquiring the disease secondhand.

Cholera is a highly contagious, waterborne disease. Therefore, it is important to root the disease out as soon as it occurs. On Aug. 15, people started to show symptoms of diarrhea after having meals at a roadside restaurant in Yeongcheon. Despite that fact, health authorities first sensed as recently as Sept. 1 that cholera was spreading among people who had dined at the restaurant. By neglecting to take care of the situation early, the government left defenseless some 200 to 500 people who had visited the restaurant daily.

A disease-prevention program that monitors diarrhea patients was also at fault. Although a truck driver who had dined at the restaurant revisited a local general hospital when he continued to have diarrhea after taking medication, it was five days later when the man was reported to a health center by the hospital as being a diarrhea patient. It's just ridiculous for us to understand this situation. Cholera comes back in 10 year-cycles internationally, and this year is the year when the disease is expected to prevail. Knowing that fact, health officials appointed 71 local health centers and 253 clinics as special monitoring institutes and activated them, beginning Aug. 13. However, the system has already shown to have loopholes by failing to monitor diarrhea patients. What are the special institutes for if they can't go to work immediately?

If the government wants to prevent the disease from spreading further, it should strengthen the disease-prevention system as well as find the source of the infection. In addition, Seoul should solidify the prevention system of infectious fall diseases, such as hemorrhagic fever and trombiculosis, which have prevailed since 1998. Citizens could also protect themselves by cooking seafood before they eat it and by sterilizing kitchenware thoroughly.

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