Countrywide cholera outbreaks in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has reported outbreaks of potentially lethal cholera in 10 provinces across the impoverished country, the health ministry said.

Countrywide cholera outbreaks in Afghanistan


Afghanistan has reported outbreaks of potentially lethal cholera in 10 provinces across the impoverished country, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry "has so far recorded 673 cases countrywide" of the highly contagious disease in almost a third of the country's 34 provinces, including in the capital Kabul. No deaths have been reported.

"All outbreaks are under control and no active one is reported as of today, September 13," a ministry statement said.

According to the World Health Organization, cholera, which is rarely reported in Afghanistan, is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of the bacterium vibrio cholerae. The disease is characterized in its most severe form by a sudden onset of AWD that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.

It said staff had been deployed to outbreak areas and medication was being provided to try to prevent the spread of the disease, which thrives where sanitation is poor and can spread rapidly.

Afghanistan's health system has been battered by decades of civil war, and facilities remain poor across the fifth poorest country in the world.

Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on 2 September. OCHA had warned about an outbreak of malaria from stagnant flood waters. Water sources usually get contaminated during floods.

 

Lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation as well as poor awareness about personal hygiene appear to be major causes of cholera and AWD.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that only 23 percent of Afghanistan's estimated 27 million people have access to clean drinking water and 12 percent to safe sanitation, and that annually up to 50,000 children die from diarrhoeal diseases.

Agencies

Last Mod: 15 Eylül 2009, 08:08
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