Cholera Outbreaks On The Rise, WHO Expert Says

A recent increase in the number of cholera outbreaks is threatening populations in pockets of the world, Claire-Lise Chaignat, WHO’s cholera group coordinator, said on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports. “Cholera is transmitted by water but also by food that had been contaminated by unclean water,” the news service writes. “It causes serious diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to dehydration. With a short incubation period, it can be fatal if not treated in time,” AFP writes.

According to Chaignat, the WHO “has recorded 2,849 cases in Cameroon, including 222 deaths since May” and “837 cases of the disease in the north of Nigeria since mid-June, including 30 deaths,” the news service reports.

“The fatality rates linked to cholera in these countries – 3.6 percent in Nigeria and 7.8 percent in Cameroon – are too high compared to the 1.0 percent threshold that is typically tolerated,” Chaignat said.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu reported Thursday that the numbers of people impacted by cholera in the country had reached 4,600, with the disease claiming the lives of 231 people, AFP adds (8/19). reports on the updated cholera report in Nigeria and examines the recent appeal by Chukwu to state governors to increase their investment to fight cholera. The article details several efforts being made by the government to control the outbreak (8/19).

Nigeria’s cholera outbreak “has been blamed on flooding from persistent rainfall, which has polluted the sources of drinking water in the affected areas,” PANA/Afrique en ligne reports (8/19).

“Out of the 2,849 [cholera] patients found in [Cameroon], 2,460 have recuperated from the disease, Health Minister Andre Mama Fouda told a press conference” Wednesday, Xinhua/People’s Daily Online reports in a piece that examines the country’s outbreak. Fouda also “said women and children were the worst hit by the disease” and noted the region where the outbreak was especially severe.

The spread of the disease from patients traveling to neighboring countries, “[t]he heavy rains which hit the region, the absence of latrines in numerous families and the shortage of clean drinking water” are all believed to have contributed to the outbreak, the health minister explained (8/19).

Cholera is “a disease of the poor, a sign of a lack of access to clean drinking water and of poor hygiene,” Chaignat said, noting that in some countries, such as Pakistan, cholera is endemic, AFP writes, adding that “Chaignat claimed that the spread in cholera across the world could be partly linked to climate change” (8/19).

Chaignat also noted the uptick in the number of cholera outbreaks worldwide, with reports of the disease in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Laos, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, Australia Network News reports (8/20).

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