West, central Africa in one of worst cholera epidemics: UN

The west and central Africa region is facing one of the worst cholera epidemics in its history, with over 85,000 cases reported leading to 2,466 deaths this year, the UN children's agency warned Tuesday.

"The size and scale of the outbreaks means the region is facing one of the biggest epidemics in its history," said a UNICEF spokeswoman.

"The most significant increases in 2011 are in Chad, where it is the largest outbreak recorded, in Cameroon where nine out of 10 districts are reporting cases and in western where case fatality rate is above five percent," she added.

In some districts, fatality rates are as high as 22 percent.

UN agencies also noted that outbreaks were occurring in places where cholera was not endemic.

"You have cases happening outside of a typical cholera season, you also have them occurring in a wider .

"In central Africa, they just declared a . They haven't had cholera in years. This means that people are less aware of how to prevent or respond to an outbreak of cholera," the spokeswoman said.

In addition, high are being recorded in places where cholera is not endemic.

"In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we have this year outbreaks in provinces that we have not seen in the last 10 years," said a WHO spokesman.

"There we see a case fatality ratio much higher than in provinces where cholera was endemic like north and south Kivu," he added.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cholera in Africa spreading at 'alarming' rate

Sep 30, 2010

(AP) -- An alarming number of new cholera cases have been reported in the West African nations of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, an international aid agency said Thursday.

Cholera kills four, infects 400 in Burundi

Aug 22, 2011

Cholera has killed at least four people in an outbreak in the past three weeks in western Burundi, where more than 400 people are infected, a health ministry official said Monday.

UN appeals for $164M to combat Haiti cholera

Nov 12, 2010

(AP) -- The United Nations asked for $164 million Friday to fight the cholera outbreak in Haiti that has already claimed 724 lives and is expected to continue spreading for up to a year.

Recommended for you

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

5 hours ago

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

6 hours ago

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

9 hours ago

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

10 hours ago

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments