Sierra Leone declares cholera an emergency, 176 dead

August 16, 2012

Sierra Leone's government on Thursday declared a cholera outbreak a national emergency after 176 deaths and 10,800 reported cases since January, health ministry sources said.

"A decision has been taken to declare cholera as a ," a source at the told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The decision followed a cholera situation report which revealed that a total of 176 people have so far died out of 10,800 reported cases recorded between January 1 to August 14 and signs of the disease spreading to various parts of the country."

The decision was announced after a meeting between government and officials from the World Health Organisation and United Nation's children agency UNICEF. Government has also set up a special task force to deal with the epidemic.

According to the health ministry, out of eight of the country's 12 districts which are affected by the outbreak, the western area which includes the capital Freetown has been worst hit with 63 deaths.

Other badly affected districts are Port Loko in the north of the country, where 43 people have died and Moyama in the south where 35 people have died.

Health ministry spokesman Abass Kamara rejected criticism from the public that government was doing little to stem the tide of the outbreak.

"A series of robust resource mobilisation including the setting up of dozens of cholera treatment units in affected areas have been undertaken."

State doctor Harrison Williams said patients came from areas with limited access to proper water drainage and sanitation as the country is at the height of its .

"We are many times overstretched working from mornings to late evenings. The unprecedented rainfall which is dislodging clogged-up gutters and bringing garbage into the streets has added to the filth."

The small west African nation of six million people has one of the worlds worst with only one doctor per 34,744 people, according to United Nations figures.

The water-borne disease has also hit Guinea, neighbouring to the north, leaving 60 people dead in that country since February, and Mali and Niger have also been hit by the outbreak.

Poor water and sanitation systems give rise to the disease, an acute intestinal infection caused by ingesting contaminated food and water which causes acute diarrhoea and vomiting and can kill in hours, according to the .

Explore further: S.Leone cholera outbreak kills 62 in less than a month

Related Stories

S.Leone cholera outbreak kills 62 in less than a month

July 18, 2012
Sierra Leone's health ministry on Wednesday said an outbreak of cholera in the west African country has killed 62 people in less than a month.

Cholera outbreak in Guinea worsens

August 9, 2012
An outbreak of cholera in Guinea has killed 60 people since February and is showing no signs of letting up, the country's health ministry said Thursday.

Sierra Leone says cholera killed 66 since January

July 21, 2012
(AP) — Sierra Leone's health ministry says a cholera outbreak has sickened more than 3,800 and killed 66 people since January.

Diarrhoea outbreak kills seven children in Zimbabwe

October 16, 2011
At least seven children have died from a suspected diarrhoea outbreak which has affected over 6,000 children in two towns in Zimbabwe over the past week, a state newspaper said Sunday.

Cholera kills four, infects 400 in Burundi

August 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.

Recommended for you

Study seeks to aid diagnosis, management of catatonia

December 11, 2017
Catatonia, a syndrome of motor, emotional and behavioral abnormalities frequently characterized by muscular rigidity and a trance-like mental stupor and at times manifesting with great excitement or agitation, can occur during ...

New compound stops progressive kidney disease in its tracks

December 7, 2017
Progressive kidney diseases, whether caused by obesity, hypertension, diabetes, or rare genetic mutations, often have the same outcome: The cells responsible for filtering the blood are destroyed. Reporting today in Science, ...

New Lyme disease tests could offer quicker, more accurate detection

December 7, 2017
New tests to detect early Lyme disease - which is increasing beyond the summer months -could replace existing tests that often do not clearly identify the infection before health problems occur.

Spinal tap needle type impacts the risk of complications

December 6, 2017
The type of needle used during a lumbar puncture makes a significant difference in the subsequent occurrence of headache, nerve irritation and hearing disturbance in patients, according to a study by Hamilton medical researchers.

Men with HPV are 20 times more likely to be reinfected after one year

December 5, 2017
A new analysis of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) in men shows that infection with one HPV type strongly increases the risk of reinfection with the same type. In fact, men who are infected with the type responsible for ...

New tuberculosis drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic

December 5, 2017
Tuberculosis, and other life-threatening microbial diseases, could be more effectively tackled with future drugs, thanks to new research into an old antibiotic by the University of Warwick and The Francis Crick Institute.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.