Somalia sounds alarm as cholera outbreak surges

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Mogadishu, Feb 18 (IANS) Somalia said a cholera outbreak is rapidly spreading across the country following intense flooding caused by El Nino rains in late 2023.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services said in its latest update released on Saturday evening that a total of 2,567 new cholera cases and 23 deaths have been reported since January, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Among these cases, 1,527 (59 per cent) were classified as severe, indicating the gravity of the illness. Of the reported cases, 1,276 (50 per cent) were female, highlighting the vulnerability of women to cholera infection,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, some 1,581 cases (62 per cent) were children under five years of age, underscoring the heightened risk faced by this age group.

The ministry also said 23 deaths (0.9 per cent case fatality rate) were recorded during the period, emphasizing the severity of the outbreak.

Somalia has had uninterrupted AWD/cholera transmission since 2022 and in the Banadir region since the drought of 2017, according to the World Health Organization.

In 2023, more than 18,304 cumulative cases and 46 deaths were reported in Somalia, including over 10,000 children aged below five years (55 percent), the ministry said.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that spreads through food and water contaminated with bacteria, often from feces.



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