Cholera has killed more than 120 people so far this year in crisis-stricken Zimbabwe, a doctors' group said Friday, warning the spread of the disease pointed to a dangerous collapse in basic services.
"The government has grossly underestimated the impact that infrastructure breakdown is having on public health," the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said in a statement.
Over just the last two months, the waterborne disease has hit the capital Harare, as well as towns in the northern and western parts of the country, the group said.
"Water supply is irregular or completely absent in most urban areas, burst sewage pipes continue to be left unattended and there is a lack of refuse collection," the statement said.
"About 120 cholera-related deaths have been cumulatively recorded this year," it added.
Cholera is caused by intestinal bacteria that causes serious diarrhoea and vomiting leading to dehydration. With a short incubation period, it can be fatal. But the disease is easily prevented and can be cured if diagnosed promptly.
The doctors' group urged the government to provide access to proper sanitation and clean running water to prevent the outbreak of disease.
In October the charity Save the Children reported that children in the former British colony were eating rats infested with parasites to stave off hunger, resulting in the spread of disease.
Zimbabwe's economy and health care system have collapsed over a decade, with high unemployment and food shortages in a country where at least 80 percent of the population live below the poverty line.