Monday, December 29, 2008

Zimbabwe cholera deaths pass 1,500








The number of cholera deaths in Zimbabwe continues to increase, a World Health Organization spokesman said Monday.

As of Sunday, the outbreak had killed 1,564 people, and 29,131 cases had been reported, Gregory Hartl told CNN. These figures represent increases from numbers released Thursday that showed 1,518 deaths and 26,497 cases.

The World Health Organization says the outbreak has affected all of the country's 10 provinces and has spread to neighboring South Africa. It is "closely linked to the lack of safe drinking water, poor sanitation, declining health infrastructure and reduced numbers of health care staff reporting to work."

The organization also says factors "include the commencement of the rainy season and the movement of people within the country, and possibly across borders, during the Christmas season."

Health experts have warned that the water-borne disease could infect more than 60,000 people unless its spread is halted.

Long wracked by political and economic turmoil, Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic and humanitarian crisis since its independence from Great Britain 28 years ago. There is an acute shortage of all essentials such as cash, fuel, medical drugs, electricity and food.

President Robert Mugabe blames the crisis on sanctions imposed by the West on grounds that he is disregarding human rights. But Mugabe's critics attribute the crisis to his economic policies.

The charity Save the Children recently issued a report saying some of Zimbabwe's children are "wasting away" amid the turmoil.

Five million Zimbabweans -- out of a population of about 12 million -- need food aid now, the report said. The group is appealing for 18,000 tons of food for next month

Here is the link to the original story: cholera


Here is some information about Cholera:

The following information is from the Center For Disease Control:

What is cholera?

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe. Approximately one in 20 infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

How does a person get cholera?

A person may get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the feces of an infected person. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.

The cholera bacterium may also live in the environment in brackish rivers and coastal waters. Shellfish eaten raw have been a source of cholera, and a few persons in the United States have contracted cholera after eating raw or undercooked shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico. The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill.

Is a vaccine available to prevent cholera?

A recently developed oral vaccine for cholera is licensed and available in other countries (Dukoral from SBL Vaccines). The vaccine appears to provide somewhat better immunity and have fewer adverse effects than the previously available vaccine. However, CDC does not recommend cholera vaccines for most travelers, nor is the vaccine available in the United States . Further information about Dukoral can be obtained from the manufacturers:

Dukoral ®
SBL Vaccin AB,
SE-105 21 Stockholm, Sweden
telephone +46-8-7351000,
e-mail: info@sblvaccines.se
website: www.sblvaccines.se


You can read all the CDC information about Cholera at this link: Cholera

Here are some recent news reports dealing with Cholera:


Zimbabwe malnutrition, cholera worse

Cholera epidemic is still 'out of control'

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:10 AM   0 comments links to this post

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