African cholera cases falling but floods up risk: WHO
Modester Patrick holds the hand of her son at a temporary cholera treatment centre at Bwaila District hospital in Lilongwe on February 21, 2023. The deadliest cholera outbreak in Malawi's history has killed at least 1,210 people, while vaccines remain scarce and several other African nations report outbreaks.
The southern African nation has been battling its worst cholera outbreak on record, with nearly 37,000 cases reported since March 2022. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd / AFP)
(AFP) - Cholera cases are falling across Africa, the World Health Organisation said Thursday, but the number of deaths remains stable and heavy flooding is increasing the risk of the disease spreading.
The United Nations agency said that 2,880 cases of cholera were recorded across the continent in the week ending on February 26 -- a 37 percent decline compared to the previous week.
But the disease has kept claiming lives at a similar rate. Eighty-one cholera deaths were recorded during week ending on February 26, compared to 82 recorded the week before.
Several African countries are battling cholera outbreaks, with the southern African nation of Malawi suffering its worst ever epidemic.
Heavy rainfall in Malawi, as well as its neighbours South Africa and Zambia, is fuelling the spread of the disease, the WHO said.
Medical teams face increased difficulties operating in areas where downpours have damaged roads and health infrastructure, for example.
In Madagascar, flooding caused by tropical cyclones this year have caused flooding and contributed to a spike in malaria cases, according to the WHO, while increasing the risk of a cholera outbreak.
Last month, the WHO warned that Africa was suffering from an exponential rise in cholera cases.
Cholera, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is contracted from a bacterium that is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water.
© Agence France-Presse