Tatarstan is preparing for a cholera epidemic —

Photo: Maxim Platonov

A cholera outbreak can lead to an emergency

Information about changes to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Tatarstan dated 21.12.2020 No. 2864-r on the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population appeared on the official legal portal of Tatarstan. The document signed on June 20 this year was added several paragraphs, including on “the main equipment of a cholera hospital”.

In addition, the regional Ministry of Health has been instructed to approve a plan for opening medical and other organizations for hospitals, observation and isolation facilities in case a patient suspected of having the infection would be detected in Tatarstan, which can lead to emergencies on the territory of the republic. If an emergency arises in the region due to the epidemiological situation, the laboratories of the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology as well as other medical organizations of the republic should be on alert.

Examination if suspicious

A comprehensive plan of anti-cholera measures in Tatarstan for 2021-2025 also included other points. Thus, all patients with characteristic symptoms of the disease will be examined for cholera, the document also states this:

“A bacteriological examination for cholera <...> of the following categories of citizens:

  • patients with diarrhea and vomiting in severe illness and significant dehydration;
  • citizens of the Russian Federation who had acute intestinal infections for five days after arriving from countries with cholera and who had diarrhea and vomiting during their trip.

Foreigners and stateless persons have been included in the list in case they have an illness with suspected cholera.

In a nutshell, Russians and foreigners arriving from cholera-stricken countries who have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea detected within five days after arrival from abroad or en route to Russia will be subject to examination. These days, that list includes Thailand, Vietnam, India, Cuba, Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and a few other tourist favorites.

The Russian consumer rights protection body has instructed the regions to assess the preparedness of the fight against imported cholera from the spring. The watchdog notes that the incidence in Russia is not high today. Earlier, the head of the watchdog Anna Popova claimed during her speech at the Petersburg Economic Forum that mass vaccination against cholera was not needed in the country. According to her, the Russian consumer rights watchdog is taking all measures to reduce the risk of Russians getting infected.

In addition, Popova said that Russia has a Russian cholera vaccine in pill form, without injections.

2001 Kazan cholera outbreak

Kazan already faced a cholera epidemic more than 20 years ago. Three teenagers aged 13 to 14 were admitted to hospital with severe symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and a high temperature after swimming in one of the lakes. The boys were immediately taken to intensive care. The analyzes showed that the patients had classic cholera. It’s good that the doctors managed to save the boys – the doctors injected around 7 liters of medicine into each of them because cholera is dangerous as it causes severe dehydration where a patient can die within hours.

A total of 52 people have had cholera in Tatarstan this summer. Unfortunately, doctors failed to save a 40-year-old man. 18 other citizens were then revealed to be vibriocarriers of the disease. The epidemic was mainly localized in Kazan. However, a few cases were recorded in Vysokaya Gora and Alkeyevsk districts of the republic. Epidemiologists believe that tourists from Southeast, Central and Central Asian countries then brought cholera.


It became possible to cope with the onset of infection in less than a month – the cholera hot spot lasted 22 days. The case that arose in 2001 was not the first in Kazan. The first Russian epidemic in 1830-1831 wreaked havoc in the city, while cholera was registered in the republic in 1913 (a peasant died in the city of a disease with very similar symptoms of cholera), in 1922 and 1942.

Emil Ziyangirov


Rose D. Jones