Bradford school teacher diagnosed with cholera

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A Bradford teacher has been diagnosed with the potentially fatal bacterial infection cholera after returning from a trip abroad, NHS officials have revealed.

A public health body confirmed the case involving a member of school staff today but said the infection was unlikely to spread because it is caught by consuming contaminated food or water.

The risk to people in the UK from cholera is very low as the infection has not been contracted here for many years.

Dr Nicholas Aigbogun

No further details have been revealed about the case and it is not known which country the member of school staff was in when they contracted the disease.

Dr Nicholas Aigbogun, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health England Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Cholera is a bacterial infection which is caught by eating contaminated food or water and so is most widespread in areas of the world where sanitation is poor, such as South and South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central America and the Caribbean.

“As the infection is caught by consuming contaminated food or water, it is unlikely to spread from person to person and the risk is very low to anyone in this country who had been in contact with a returning traveller with the infection.”

Dr Aigbogun said that symptoms of cholera infection include severe watery diarrhoea, sickness and stomach cramps, although not everyone contracting the infection would have any symptoms. Oral rehydration treatment helps to reduce the risk of dehydration.

He said: “The risk to people in the UK from cholera is very low as the infection has not been contracted here for many years. Only a small number of cases are diagnosed in returning travellers each year – six cases were reported in England and Wales in 2013/14.

“However, if you are travelling abroad to countries where sanitation is poor, it is important to remember to take simple measures to protect yourself from infection.”

According to the NHS, cholera is a “potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by consuming contaminated food or water”. Not everyone who becomes infected will develop symptoms, but those who do will usually experience severe, watery diarrhoea, feeling and being sick and stomach cramps.

Cholera can spread if food and, in particular, water become contaminated with the stools of an infected person. This is why cholera is most widespread in regions of the world with poor sanitation.