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WHO reports nearly 50 more cholera deaths

WHO reports nearly 50 more cholera deaths

The number of people who have died in Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has risen to 1,564 _ an increase of almost 50 deaths from the 1,518 reported over the weekend _ the United Nations said Monday.
The latest figures, dated Dec. 28, also show that the number of cholera cases since the start of the outbreak has reached 29,131, World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl said.
WHO said Saturday that by Dec. 25 1,518 people had died since the start of the outbreak in August. More than two-thirds of the deaths occurred in December alone.
Hartl cautioned that the figures may not reflect the full extent of the outbreak.
"Not all districts are reporting," he told The Associated Press. "We don't know how many cases are out there."
Hartl said the Geneva-based agency is still working on the assumption that up to 60,000 people could be affected by cholera, a diarrheal disease spread through contaminated water supplies.
"That's a very broad brush, worst-case scenario if everyone who can be infected is infected," he said.
Aid agencies have struggled to contain the outbreak since it began in August. The crumbling state of Zimbabwe's health infrastructure, poor sanitation and the start of the rainy season have helped carry the disease to almost all districts of the country.
Last week, WHO said neighboring countries such as South Africa and Botswana, where the disease has also been reported, should scale up their disease monitoring and preparedness.
But it counseled against mass vaccination campaigns, which it said are unproven and could provide a false sense of security.


Updated : 2021-03-07 14:03 GMT+08:00