Thousands more cholera cases reported in Yemen, Somalia

Cholera bacteria
Cholera bacteria

Krishna Kumar / Thinkstock

In a pair of outbreak updates yesterday, Yemen confirmed another 35,000 cholera cases, while Somalia reported a slight slowdown, with only 1,121 cases reported in the past few weeks.

The outbreaks are part of ongoing outbreaks in several countries in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden regions.

Yemen grapples with case backlog

According to a weekly report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Yemen had 35,052 suspected cholera cases and 53 associated deaths between Jul 9 and 15. This brings the cumulative number of suspected cases to 351,045, with 1,790 deaths, in what is shaping up to be the biggest cholera outbreak in the world. The current case-fatality rate is 0.5%.

The WHO warned that new suspected cases were not slowing down, and in fact, there was a backlog of case information currently under review.

The outbreak began in October of 2016, and surged in April. There are now 5,000 cases being reported each day.

Cases of severe, watery diarrhea have been reported throughout Yemen. The five most affected governorates are Amanat Al Asimah, Al Hudaydah, Hajjah Amran, and Ibb. Those areas have had 53.9% of all reported cases.

"Ongoing conflict, destroyed health, water and sanitation infrastructure and malnutrition have caused the people to be more vulnerable to diseases, including cholera," the WHO said.

Somalia cases drop by 18%

In its weekly update on the cholera outbreak in Somalia, the WHO said there's been a slowdown in cases and deaths. There were 1,121 cholera cases and 3 deaths reported between Jun 26 and Jul 2, which is a decline of 18% and 14%, respectively, compared to the previous week.

In another sign that the outbreak is declining, the WHO reports that Somalia has closed 10 out of 56 cholera treatment centers, and 34 out of 54 cholera treatment units, because of the reduction of cases.

The cholera outbreak in Somalia began in January. Since then, there have been 56,628 cases reported, including 806 deaths, making the case-fatality rate 1.4%. Severe drought has displaced thousands of Somalians and put them at risk for the water-borne disease.

See also:

Jul 18 WHO Yemen update

Jul 18 WHO Somalia update

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