WHO Warns Number Of Cholera Cases Continues To Grow Across African Nations

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday confirmed in an update that the world’s cholera situation is deteriorating, with two dozen countries now reporting new cases, reported The BBC.

In a statement, the WHO said that 24 separate countries are reporting some level of cholera cases as of Monday.

A majority of cases are being reported in southeast Africa, with extended outbreaks continuing to spread in Malawi and Mozambique. Malawi is battling its deadliest cholera outbreak on record.

According to the UN health agency, new outbreaks were reported in Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia since January. Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which hit parts of East Africa in February, has only exacerbated the situation.

The cyclone was found to be at levels equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane, and the heavy rain, flooding and damage to water and sewer systems has further fuelled cholera outbreaks in the southeast African countries.

The WHO estimated that more than 36,000 people have been infected and 1,700 killed since unprecedented rise in cholera cases worldwide last year.

The health agency said that shortages of oral cholera vaccine and poor health services in various African countries mean there is limited capacity to respond to the worsening situation.

“The overall capacity to respond to the multiple and simultaneous outbreaks continues to be strained due to the global lack of resources, including shortages of the oral cholera vaccine, as well as overstretched public health and medical personnel, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies at the same time,” the WHO said Wednesday.

The UN body said that it assesses the risk at the global level as very high based on the current situation.

In related news, on Wednesday, Tanzanian authorities said the country reported 60 cholera cases in the  four regions between February 19 and March 15.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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