Dec 12, 2008
Staggering numbers of Zimbabweans are at risk of cholera, following the deaths of 775 people and infections among more than 16,000 since August, World Health Organization officials report. Half of the country’s 12 million people could be exposed to the disease, which is spread through contaminated food or water and poor sanitation, and an estimated 60,000 are believed to be at risk of contracting it.
The outbreak reflects a stark decline in health in Zimbabwe since last year, when there were just 65 cases of cholera and four deaths, according to WHO statistics. Basic government services in the country, including the provision of water and garbage collection, have collapsed under President Robert Mugabe, who insisted yesterday that the epidemic is over, today’s New York Times notes. The disease has spilled into neighboring South Africa, where 460 cases and nine deaths have been reported.
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