Cholera infections have skyrocketed this year, particularly in areas of poverty and violence, with outbreaks reported in 26 countries and death rates climbing dramatically, according to a World Health Organization official on Friday.
In a typical year, fewer than twenty countries report outbreaks of a disease transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water and can cause acute diarrhea.
Philippe Barboza, WHO Team Lead for Cholera, told a news event in Geneva, “After years of dropping numbers, we have seen a very concerning increase in cholera outbreaks around the world over the past year.”
In Africa, the average fatality rate has nearly tripled compared to the five-year norm and is at over 3%, he added.
can kill within hours if left untreated, although most infected individuals experience minor or no symptoms.
A cholera outbreak
in Syria has already claimed the lives of at least 33 people, posing a threat to the frontlines of the country’s 11-year civil war and inciting dread in overcrowded refugee camps. read further
Barboza also raised concern about epidemics in the Horn of Africa and flooding regions of Asia, particularly Pakistan. read further
He stated that only a few million vaccines would be accessible by the end of the year, citing a lack of manufacturers as one of the issues.
“Therefore, it is quite evident that we do not have enough vaccine to respond to acute outbreaks and preventive vaccination efforts, which might lower the danger for many nations,” he said.
He stated that there was no global estimate of the number of cholera cases due to disparities in national surveillance systems.