A study finds that drinking iced tea or un-boiled water and having a water source near a toilet may increase the risk of cholera.
The results, published in the journal of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, suggested that about 22 percent of people with cholera reported drinking iced tea in the week prior to their disease, whereas only three percent of controls had drank iced tea in the week before being interviewed.
Cholera transmission is closely linked to inadequate access to clean water and is often spread through contaminated drinking water.
Thuong Vu Nguyen, along with researchers from the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City, interviewed 60 people who were confirmed to have been infected with cholera during the 2010 outbreak in Ben Tre, as well as 240 subcommune-, 5-year age group- and sex-matched controls.
They also recorded the information about each person's eating, drinking behaviours and living environment. The team also collected samples of nearby river water, drinking water, wastewater samples and local seafood, to test for Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria which spreads the disease.
The findings indicated that drinking iced tea, not always boiling drinking water, having a main water source near a toilet, living with other who have diarrhea, and having little or no education, were all associated with an increased risk of cholera.
While drinking stored rainwater, eating cooked seafood or steamed vegetables were protective against the disease. "This present study has important implications for Vietnam's cholera responses," the researchers say.
"Along with traditional approaches that focus on enhancement of safe water, sanitation and food safety, combined with periodic provision of oral cholera vaccines, a water quality monitoring system at ice-making plants should be established," they explained.