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.
Nov 11, 2008 | 1
Human displacement and the accompanying decline in sanitation is often a recipe for a disease outbreak, and the latest fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is no different. The crowding and lack of safe drinking water in refugee camps could spark a cholera outbreak there, where 250,000 people are now refugees, health authorities say.
There have been at least 1,000 cases of the diarrheal disease in the region since the beginning of October, and more could occur if sanitation isn’t improved in the camps, the Associated Press is reporting today. Aid groups have diagnosed at least 90 cholera cases around the provincial capital of Goma since Friday, according to the AP. But almost a million people in the eastern DRC are at risk for water-borne diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week.
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