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Saturday, August 13, 2011

AFRICA AFFAIRS: UN says cholera epidemic in Somalia!

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Associated Press / / Posted on Aug 13, 2011 at 02:47am IST.

Geneva: World Health Organization officials said on Friday that famine-hit Somalia faces a cholera epidemic as dirty water and poor sanitation are leading to an increase in outbreaks of the disease.

Officials say cases of acute watery diarrhea, an important indicator of the risk of cholera are now at 4,272 in Somalia, an 11 per cent rise on last week's WHO reported figure of 3,839.

WHO public health adviser Dr Michel Yao told reporters in Geneva on Friday that the number of cholera cases has also risen sharply this year, with officials confirming 18 cases in the 30 lab samples taken in recent days from people living in the capital, Mogadishu.

Yao said the 60 percent infection rate confirms there is a "high risk" of the disease spreading quickly - "so we can say we have an epidemic."

The random samples, which were tested in a lab in the capital, were drawn from among 4,272 samples from people who have suffered the diarrhea, he said. So far, he said, there have been 181 acute watery diarrhea-related deaths.

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