Cholera outbreak hits Angola

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Angola, Africa

A cholera epidemic in Angola has killed over 1,200 people in the past three months. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says about 35,000 people have fallen ill, half the victims in the capital of Luanda, where the first cases were detected in February.

The UN say the epidemic is Angola’s worst cholera outbreak in almost two decades continues to rage on with 546 new cases and 31 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. A third of the victims are children under 5.

The medical charity Mangola, Medecines Sans Frontieres and the World Health Organisation say it is the worst outbreak recorded in the country. Spokesman for Medecines Sans Frontiere Richard Veerman said: "Angola is heading for its worst ever outbreak and the situation remains very bad in Angola," he said.

"It's very worrying, the official number of deaths countrywide is now more than 1,200, which is likely under-reported. Many people will be at home and die at home and have no possibility to come to one of our treatment centres."

Cholera, an acute intestinal disease caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, causes copious, painless, watery diarrhoea that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment, including rehydration, is not given promptly.