WHO worried about cholera spike in south Somalia

July 13, 2012

(AP) — The World Health Organization says it is concerned about an increasing number of cholera cases in a southern Somali town controlled by militants.

WHO said Friday that the hospital in the port city of Kismayo has reported 639 suspected cases of cholera this year. is a disease associated with diarrhea that can kill within hours if left untreated. Most victims are children under 8.

Kismayo is the last major stronghold of militants from the group al-Shabab. Kenyan military forces are slowly moving toward Kismayo and Kenyan leaders have vowed to take it from the militants by August.

WHO said it is sending in extra medical supplies. It said, though, that limited access and recent fighting has made it difficult to fully respond to the outbreak.

Explore further: 500,000 cholera cases expected in Haiti by end 2011: WHO

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