Cholera in Central and West Africa

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The west and central Africa is under the effect of severe cholera these days. The disease which has been reported as one of the biggest in the history of this vast region of the continent has up till now affected more than 85000 people. So far this year, at least 2466 deaths have been recorded as told by the United Nations aid agency on Tuesday. The disease is spreading very quickly through the rivers and other waterways between two countries and also within a country. This is in turn causing an alarming rate of deaths and severe diarrhea among the people, told the children’s fund of UN, UNICEF.

The official spokes person of the UNICEEF, Marixie Mercado said in Geneve during a news briefing  that the size and the scale of the epidemic has proved that this is the biggest outbreak ever in the history. Chad is infected by the biggest cholera crisis ever. Out of the 10 districts in Cameroon, 9 have been affected by this outbreak. The fatality rate is more than 5 % in the western part of Democratic Republic of Congo. This disease which acutely infects the intestine and causes severe diarrhea is spread chiefly through contaminated water. Children are most vulnerable to this disease and have a higher rate of death especially those who are malnourished. These are the ones who are at the highest risk of losing their lives to this disease.

If proper treatment is given to the infected, the aid agencies tell that the fatality rate can be reduced to less than 1%. Of all the 200 affected countries of Africa, 90 % cases and deaths are coming from the countries of Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Chad. Three major cross border Cholera outbreaks have been identified by UNICEF which are: the West Congo Basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic), the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger) and Lake Tanganyika (Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi). It was reported by the organization that treatment kits have been provided by it throughout and community awareness campaigns have been conducted regarding hygiene and sanitation as these are the major factors for the spread of the disease.

WHO also is helping out by providing technical assistance and help to authorities in order to improve the surveillance of the disease for detecting the infected people.


Editor :   Health Filed under Research.

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