Get your facts right

Published On: October 21, 2016 08:18 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time. In the recent past there have been several outbreaks of various diseases in the country that have turned into an epidemic including diarrhea, cholera, and dengue. In August, 30 cholera cases were reported in the valley in the span of a week. Recently, Dengue has been spotted in Chitwan and has been identified in 219 people, with about 80 percent in just one municipality. 

Dr Keyoor Gautam, Clinical and Oncopathologist, and Chairman of Samyak Diagnostic Pvt. Ltd. helped shed light on some of the basic ways in which an epidemic can be controlled and prevented from reaching great heights.

What are the measures we can take to stop a disease from reaching epidemic levels?

A preventive measure for any disease that can reach epidemic levels depends on which disease we are talking about. For most water borne and food related diseases sanitation is very important. Good hygiene habits always help to prevent the spread of diseases like typhoid and jaundice. In case of diseases like malaria and dengue, the environment plays a crucial role. If you do not live in a clean area, avoid walking in the evenings or make sure your ankles are covered when you do. Keep your immediate surrounding like your own front or backyard clean and try to get rid of any small puddles and such which has a still water body in order to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

What is the best course of action if somebody contracts a communicable disease?

The first step for anybody who contracts a disease would be to contact the hospital and immediately seek medical help. People who usually interact with the infected person should be made aware of the possibility of the spread of diseases and be properly educated so that it can be contained and doesn’t spread further. We have seen that because of the lack of proper education and awareness entire families and sometimes even friends end up being infected with the same disease. 

What should the general public be aware of regarding an epidemic?

People should be aware of common diseases such as diarrhea and malaria and know the preventive methods in order to avoid contracting these diseases. If they do end up contracting these diseases, they should know what they should do to make sure they don’t further spread the disease among their family members. People should try to eat home cooked meals and avoid eating outside when there has been an outbreak of diseases and try to avoid eating raw food. Instead of eating it raw, boil or blanch in water for a few minutes in order to kill the disease spreading bacteria. Try not to walk around during the evening unprotected as this is considered the prime time for mosquitoes to come out. 

Why do you think Nepal is prone to epidemic outbreaks? 

People in most parts of Nepal aren’t completely aware of the concept of epidemics or the preventive measures of different diseases. When a disease does break out, there are places which have no access to clean water and proper medication which makes it hard to find a cure. Nepal’s health facilities need to improve in order to tackle epidemics better.

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