by Savitha C Muppala on  September 9, 2010 at 11:31 PM General Health News
 Cholera Outbreak in Cameroon Leaves 372 Dead
Two regions in northern Cameroon have been reeling under a cholera outbreak since May which has claimed the lives of 372 people, according to a health ministry report.

Out of 5,460 detected cases, there had been 367 deaths in the Nord region and five in the Extreme-Nord region as of Tuesday, the ministry said.

Authorities fear the disease will spread to the south of the country, with greater movement at the start of the new school year, as Cameroon faces its worst cholera crisis in a decade.

On Tuesday, Libya dispatched a flight of medicines and other necessary items to the north of Cameroon in a bid to help the fight against cholera, sources said.

Out of the registered patients in Extreme-Nord, 27 are foreigners with 25 Nigerians and two Chadians.

"The free treatment of patients in Cameroon has caused an influx of sick people from neighbouring foreign countries," a ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A Cameroonian who had come from Nigeria was taken off an overnight train on Tuesday after it was discovered he had contracted cholera, health minister Andre Mama Fouda said in a statement.

The train's 1,500 passengers were given antibiotics as a precaution upon arrival at Yaounde and all the carriages were disinfected, Mama Fouda added, as local media reported scenes of panic.

The ministry's report said 4,351 people have been cured and released since the detection of the first cholera case in May, while 245 people to date are still hospitalised. An August 26 toll put the number of victims at 278.

According to Gervais Ondobo, director of the health ministry's committee to fight cholera, the government and its partners have launched an emergency plan to contain cholera in the Extreme-Nord and Nord regions.

Around 2.5 billion cfa francs (3.8 million euros, 4.8 million dollars) have been provisionally earmarked to finance the plan until July 2011.

Source: AFP

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