WHO: Africa sees "massive increase" in cholera cases

WHO: Africa sees “massive increase” in cholera cases

WHO: Africa sees “massive increase” in cholera cases: “We are witnessing an alarming scenario, where conflict and extreme climate change are exacerbating cholera pathogens and increasing the loss of life”.

Eliza Tangwe, 18, takes a dose of oral cholera vaccine at a health centre in response to the latest cholera outbreak in Blantyre, Malawi, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Eldson Chagara

WHO: Africa sees “massive increase” in cholera cases

The World Health Organization revealed in a statement that Africa is witnessing a “massive increase” in the number of cholera cases, as the number of cases recorded on the continent in the first month of 2023 alone reached more than 30 percent of the total number recorded throughout the year 2022. According to the WHO Regional Office for Africa, based in Brazzaville, about 26,000 cases and 660 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the year until January 29 in ten African countries. It should be noted that nearly 80,000 cases of infection and about 1,863 deaths have been recorded in 15 affected countries in 2022, while 141,467 cases and 4,094 deaths have been recorded in 2021.

The World Health Organization warned that the continuation of the current accelerated upward trend will mean that cases recorded in the current year will exceed what was documented in 2021, which is the worst year for cholera in Africa in nearly a decade.

Average death rate from infection: about three percent

The organization also said the average death rate from infection with the disease is currently about three percent, far exceeding the acceptable level of less than one percent, noting that the bulk of new cases and deaths have been recorded in Malawi. This is facing the worst cholera outbreak in the country’s history. Recently, Malawi’s neighbors, particularly Mozambique and Zambia, have reported cholera cases. In East Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are experiencing outbreaks of the disease in the midst of severe and prolonged drought, leaving millions in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

According to the same source, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria have also reported cases. Against this backdrop, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said, “We are witnessing an alarming scenario, where conflict and extreme climate change are exacerbating cholera pathogens and increasing the loss of life”.

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