Cholera Spreads Through Rivers and Streams in Zimbabwe - WHO

by Savitha C Muppala on  February 14, 2009 at 3:28 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
The World Health Organisation has said that the rivers and streams in Zimbabwe have caused the unchecked spread of cholera which has resulted in the death of 3,525 people.
 Cholera Spreads Through Rivers and Streams in Zimbabwe - WHO
Cholera Spreads Through Rivers and Streams in Zimbabwe - WHO

The latest figures for the outbreak that has thrived since August 2008, especially in the country's impoverished, undernourished and neglected rural areas, were dated February 12, the UN health agency said.

At the beginning of the week, the WHO and the Zimbabwean Health Ministry had recorded 69,553 cases including 3,400 deaths.

"Cholera is still not under control," said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

However, she revealed that an onsite survey by the central cholera control team in several districts found that waterways and wells are infected with the potentially deadly bacteria.

Chaib said they "confirmed that shallow wells, rivers and streams were the most likely source of infection."

That made it essential to distribute water purification tablets, clean water supplies, and soap directly to families and households to stop them getting infected when they washed, cooked or drank water, she added.

The WHO also reiterated fears that floods in the rainy season would hamper movement of both health workers and of people seeking treatment.

"There's also the lack of transport, the scarcity of food and the fact that health workers are paid very little if they are at all," Chaib told journalists.

However, the WHO spokeswoman said it was unclear to what degree the outbreak in Zimbabwe was fuelling those in neighbouring countries, where cholera was often already endemic.

Source: AFP

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