Nepal tourists warned about cholera outbreak

A high ranking health official in Nepal warned tourists to take precautions against cholera after the disease recently killed 13 people in the western part of the South Asian nation.

GD Thakur, the director of Nepal's epidemiology and disease control department, suggested that visitors drink mineral or boiled water and put extra attention into their hygiene. Nepal is near its peak monsoon season, which typically causes diarrhea-related illnesses to rise due to contaminated water sources, AFP reports.

"There have been 13 deaths in two months in Doti district in western Nepal but now the situation is under control," Thakur said, according to AFP. "For the last 15 years there have always been a few cases of cholera in Nepal in the rainy season. Since mid-April we have detected 15 cholera cases in Kathmandu but there have been no deaths."

Cholera is the result of bacteria in food or water that is contaminated with feces from an infected person. Untreated cholera can kill within 24 hours as a result of dehydration. Most of Nepal's western districts have primitive healthcare facilities and farm workers that work in dirty conditions without access to clean drinking water, AFP reports.

"Foreign visitors who plan to come to Nepal should not worry because the situation is completely under control. We request them to pay attention to their personal care and hygiene," Thakur said, according to AFP. "We encourage them to drink either boiled water or mineral water and not to eat leftover food. The department is very vigilant and there is nothing to worry about."