Combating Cholera – Essential Precautions for Hotels and Restaurants

Combating Cholera – Essential Precautions for Hotels and Restaurants

Cholera, a highly contagious bacterial disease, poses a severe threat to global public health, especially in regions with poor sanitation or water treatment infrastructure. Certain areas in South Africa are experiencing Cholera outbreaks with a positive test for the disease on 26 May 2023 in the Vaal river system near Parys. Hotels and restaurants, as places where people gather and consume food, play a critical role in preventing the spread of cholera. This responsibility becomes even more crucial when these establishments are located in or near cholera-prone areas.

HYCHEM, a leading supplier of hygiene and sanitation products, is committed to helping businesses create safer environments for their guests. In this post, we will outline some crucial precautions that hotels and restaurants can take to protect their customers from cholera.

Understanding Cholera

Cholera is a disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which is often found in food or water contaminated by feces from an infected person. The bacteria can spread if an infected individual handles food without washing their hands or defecates in a water source. People risk infection by drinking polluted water or using it to wash food or other items. Cholera can cause severe diarrhoea, potentially leading to dehydration and, if not treated promptly, it can prove fatal.

Practicing Good Hygiene

Maintaining cleanliness is the first line of defence against cholera. All individuals, especially food handlers, should regularly wash their hands with soap and clean water, particularly before handling food and after using the restroom. It is also crucial to clean and disinfect surfaces that come into contact with food, using suitable disinfectants such as our products Polycide or Quatracide.

Ensuring Safe Food Preparation and Handling

Food should be cooked thoroughly and served hot to mitigate the risk of cholera. Raw seafood and undercooked meats, being high-risk foods that could harbor Vibrio cholerae, should be avoided. Separating raw and cooked foods can prevent cross-contamination. Consider using our Salad Wash product for peelable fruits and vegetables.

Promoting Safe Water Use

Safe, treated water should be used for drinking and preparing food. If the safety of tap water is questionable, consider using bottled water or treating the water by boiling or using disinfection products.

Guidelines for Safe Water Use

      1. Boil water for at least 1 minute at sea level, extending up to 3 minutes in areas 2000m above sea level. This is because of the decrease of the boiling temperature of water with an increase in altitude.
      2. Let the water cool naturally after boiling, without adding ice.
      3. Store the cooled, boiled water in a clean, covered container.


You could treat it with bleach (like our product Britex):

  • Add 1 teaspoon of bleach (with 3 to 5% chlorine concentration) to 20 liters of water, mix well, and leave it to stand for at least 30 minutes before use.
  • For larger quantities, add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 25 liters of water.
  • Always store treated water covered, in clean containers.

Regular Sanitation of Premises

Regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, especially in areas like restrooms, kitchens, and dining areas, is essential in controlling the spread of cholera. With Hychem’s range of cleaning and disinfection products, maintaining a hygienically clean environment becomes a simpler task.

For effective kitchen sanitation, consider using our products Polycide or Quatracide. These are designed to combat bacteria and other microorganisms, ensuring your kitchen remains a safe space for food preparation.

In customer-facing areas, often referred to as the ‘front of house,’ we recommend the use of  Quatracide. This product helps maintain a clean and bacteria-free environment, promoting the health and safety of both staff and customers.

In restrooms, bathrooms, and toilets, our recommended product is Microbac. It’s specifically formulated to tackle germs commonly found in these areas, promoting a cleaner, more hygienic environment. Remember, thorough and regular sanitation is crucial in preventing the spread of cholera and other infectious diseases.

Training Staff

Train your staff on cholera prevention measures and the importance of these practices. They should also know what to do if they suspect a cholera case.

Rapid Response to Illness and Symptoms

If a guest or staff member becomes ill, it’s essential to respond quickly. Seek immediate medical attention for suspected cholera cases, and notify local health authorities.

Cholera, causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration. Symptoms can range from mild to extremely severe and typically begin between 12 hours to 5 days after infection. The severity of the symptoms can often depend on the individual’s health and the degree of exposure to the bacteria.

Typical symptoms of cholera may include:

      1. Watery Diarrhoea – This is often the first and most common symptom. The diarrhoea can be profuse, leading to a rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes (dehydration). It has a characteristic pale, milky appearance that is sometimes described as “rice-water stools.”
      2. Nausea and Vomiting – This can occur, especially at the onset of the disease, and may contribute to dehydration.
      3. Dehydration This can occur rapidly, within hours, if not treated and can be potentially life-threatening. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mucous membranes in the mouth and nose, dry skin, decreased urine output, and feeling tired or dizzy when standing up.
      4. Muscle Cramps These may be severe and are caused by the loss of salts (like sodium and potassium) due to diarrhoea and vomiting.

In severe cases, rapid loss of fluids can lead to shock and organ failure. It’s important to note that some infected people may not exhibit any symptoms but can still carry the bacteria and spread the disease to others. If you suspect cholera, seek immediate medical attention, as rapid rehydration and treatment can significantly improve the outcome.

Keeping Customers Informed

Communication with guests about the steps you’re taking to ensure their safety can help build trust and demonstrate your commitment to their wellbeing.

The fight against cholera is a collective effort. By implementing these measures, hotels and restaurants can help protect their customers and employees and contribute to broader public health efforts. As always, HYCHEM is here to support you with products and knowledge that can help you maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. Together, we can make a difference.

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