Thursday, 29 October 2015

Cholera Outbreak in Iraq

Iraq is currently battling an outbreak of cholera which started in September and there are fears it may spread to Europe.

WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told the regular press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, that the latest laboratory tests had confirmed 1,942 cases and two deaths in 15 out of 18 governorates in Iraq.

Regarding Syria, the WHO spokesperson said his agency had received reports of a suspected cholera case in rural Aleppo, northern Syria, involving a 5-year-old boy, who had died before an appropriate stool sample could be taken for confirmative testing.

Meanwhile, starting Oct. 31, the WHO and the Ministry of Health will begin the immunization of vulnerable individuals with the oral cholera vaccine treatment, and will use 510,000 of the global stock pile to ensure that 255,000 internally displaced persons and refugees in the affected areas will receive two doses.


Mr. Lindmeier said “while this number of vaccines was not enough to vaccinate everyone, it should, however, be a strategic vaccination to block the path of the disease and prevent further outbreaks.”

"In addition to the vaccine campaign, diarrhoeal disease kits and 600,000 chlorine tablets had been distributed in the infected areas, 48 national health staff had been trained in cholera and laboratory procedures, and a team of international experts have been deployed to assist the Iraqi’s Ministry of Health," he said.

The WHO is also printing 50,000 information brochures for Syria, and the country’s health sector has been put on alert, the spokesperson said. Health education is ongoing and the water network in the area is said to be chlorinated, which will hinder the spread of the cholera


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