Yemen's cholera outbreak passes 500,000 cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that the cholera outbreak in Yemen has now pushed past 500,000 suspected cases, with nearly 2,000 dying from the disease since late April.

Though numbers have slowed down in recent weeks, some parts of the country still report up to 5,000 suspected cases each day. And the WHO estimates that 30,000 of Yemen's healthcare workers have not gotten paid in the last year.

In its daily epidemiologic update on the outbreak today, the WHO said the total stands at 504,484, with 1,975 deaths reported so far. It said the case-fatality rate is 0.4% and that all but one of the country's 23 governorates has been affected.

"Yemen’s health workers are operating in impossible conditions. Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water. These doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response – without them we can do nothing in Yemen. They must be paid their wages so that they can continue to save lives," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, WHO director-general, in a statement.

Yemen's current cholera outbreak is the biggest in the world. It began last October then reignited in April. Civil unrest and the movement of displaced people have fueled the outbreak.

Access to healthcare equals survival

Those with access to healthcare have a 99% chance of surviving the acute, watery diarrhea said the WHO.

The organization said, unfortunately, nearly 15 million people are unable to get basic healthcare at this time. WHO is working to establish cholera treatment centers and water sanitation stations throughout the country.

"To save lives in Yemen today we must support the health system, especially the health workers. And we urge the Yemeni authorities–and all those in the region and elsewhere who can play a role–to find a political solution to this conflict that has already caused so much suffering. The people of Yemen cannot bear it much longer–they need peace to rebuild their lives and their country," said Tedros.

See also:

Aug 14 WHO update

Aug 14 WHO epi update on cholera in Yemen

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