Cholera in Kuwait?

munaA recent statement by a UNCEF official about a possible spread of cholera in Kuwait had really freaked me out. According to UNICEF’s Iraq director Peter Hawkins and as quoted by Reuters, “Kuwait, Bahrain and Syria have already had confirmed cases.” Did we? When, how and what to do?

The disease was detected in west Baghdad last September and has killed six people and infected at least 2,200 in Iraq. Of course, One in five cases is among children. Health officials are now concerned that the disease, which can lead to death by dehydration and kidney failure within hours if left untreated, will soon become a regional epidemic.

It is common knowledge that the living conditions are high conducive to the spread of cholera at any country, with poor sanitation and contaminated water being the primary sources of cholera infection. Iraq is suffering from worn out infrastructure, especially in the electricity and water sectors.

This is no joke, if this diseases started in Iraq, let us consider how many people are going and coming from and to Iraq daily from Kuwait? Those people can be infected or become carrier for the bacteria. But, if this condition started last September how, come we know nothing about it, and what is the precautionary measures that should be taken the Ministry of Health?

A cholera spread from Iraq, Syria, Kuwait and Bahrain, could turn into a region-wide epidemic for many people soon, especially those prepared to visit Iraq and come back to their countries, mixing with others. The chain would be unstoppable. According to health officials, we are confronting a major health threat. We are an open small society and such disease can easily become a national threat.

There are many Shiites in Kuwait who prepare themselves to visit Iraq in December for ‘Arbaeen,’ which is a ritual marking the end of an annual mourning period for the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein. Therefore, the UNICEF there are distributing information over the protection against cholera. I wonder if this procedure is enough?

What are the precautionary measures that have been taken by the Ministry of Health? In contrast, the Ministry of Health denied the news in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), stating that it had previously monitored a few cases of cholera in Kuwait of people who come from Iraq, and the last case was confirmed on October of last year, referring to the healing of all those cases.

I am surprised at this contradiction in statements, but I personally am in favor of the UNICEF’s call and warning. I believe their plea must be taken with consideration. However, I think the MOH must provide a vaccine for all those who plan to travel to Iraq and check all those who are coming back.

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