Preparedness in case of cholera outbreak intensifies in Tatarstan

A cholera outbreak can lead to an emergency

There has appeared information about changes in the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers’ decree No. 2864-r as of 21.12.2020 on the population’s sanitary and epidemiological well-being on the official legal portal of Tatarstan. The document signed on 20 June this year was added several paragraphs, including about “principal equipment of a cholera hospital.”

Also, the regional Ministry of Health Care was tasked with approving a plan for opening medical and other organisations for hospitals, observation and isolation facilities in case a patient who is suspected of having the infection is detected in Tatarstan, which can lead to emergencies on the territory of the republic. If an emergency arises in the region due to the epidemiological situation, laboratories of the Centre for Hygiene and Epidemiology as well as other medical organisations of the republic must be on alert.

Examination if suspected

A comprehensive plan for anti-cholera measures in Tatarstan for 2021-2025 was included other points too. So all patients with characteristic symptoms of the disease will be examined for cholera, the document reads this too:

“A bacteriological examination for cholera <...> of the following categories of citizens:

  • patients with diarrhoea and vomit in a severe case of the disease and prominent dehydration;
  • citizens of the Russian Federation who have acute gut infections during five days after arriving from countries with cholera and who had diarrhoea and vomit on their trip.

Foreigners and people without citizenship were included to the list in case they have a disease with suspicion of cholera.

In a word, Russians and foreigners who arrived from countries with cholera who have symptoms of vomit and diarrhoea detected during five days after coming from abroad or on their way to Russia will be subjected to examination. Nowadays this list has tourists’ favourite Thailand, Vietnam, India, Cuba, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and some others.

The Russian consumer rights protection watchdog tasked the regions with evaluating the preparedness for combating imported cholera as early as spring. The watchdog notes that the incidence in Russia is not high today. Earlier, head of the watchdog Anna Popova claimed during her speech at the Petersburg Economic Forum that mass vaccination against cholera wasn’t necessary in the country. According to her, the Russian consumer rights protection watchdog is taking all measures to lower the risks of infection of Russians.

Also, Popova said that Russia had a Russian vaccine against cholera in the form of a pill — no need of injection.

Cholera outbreak in Kazan in 2001

Kazan already faced a cholera outbreak more than 20 years ago. Three 13-14-year-old teenagers were admitted to a hospital with severe symptoms of diarrhoea, vomit and a high temperature after swimming in one of the lakes. The boys were immediately taken to ICU. Analyses showed that patients had classic cholera. It is good that doctors managed to save the boys — doctors injected about 7 litres of medicines in each of them because cholera is dangerous because of causing serious dehydration when a patient can die within hours.

A total of 52 people had cholera in Tatarstan during that summer. Unfortunately, doctors didn’t manage to save a 40-year-old man. Another 18 citizens turned out to be vibriocarriers of the disease then. The outbreak was mainly localised in Kazan. However, a couple of cases were registered in Vysokaya Gora and Alkeyevsk Districts of the republic. Epidemiologists think that tourists from Southeast, Central and Middle Asian countries brought cholera then.

It became possible to cope with the outbreak of the infection less than in a month — the cholera hotspot lasted for 22 days. The case that happened in 2001 wasn’t the first in Kazan. The first Russian epidemic in 1830-1831 wrecked havoc on the city, while cholera was registered in the republic in 1913 (a peasant died in the city from a disease with very similar cholera symptoms), in 1922 and 1942.

Emil Ziyangirov

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