Published Date: 2011-08-01 12:28:35
Subject: PRO/EAFR> Cholera - Chad
Archive Number: 20110801.226489
CHOLERA - CHAD
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 26 Jul 2011
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation AlertNet, UNICEF (Chad) [edited]
A cholera outbreak in Chad has rapidly worsened since the onset of
the rainy season in the central African nation, aid agencies said.
Although a government emergency plan exists, and several aid agencies
are offering technical assistance to local authorities, the outbreak
is not yet under control.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection spread through contaminated
food and water. It is easy to treat, but many can die if a community
is unprepared for a major outbreak.
The number of cholera cases has more than doubled since the start of
the rainy season in June 2011. As of mid-July , 6491 cases had
been reported -- up from 2674 at the start of June . The UN
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies predicted several months
ago that the cholera outbreak would worsen with the start of the
Though cholera outbreaks occur often in Chad, there is particular
concern this year  because the cholera outbreak started 9 weeks
before the outbreak in 2010, and for the 1st time there have been
cases reported in the Salamat region in eastern Chad. This means the
outbreak may also spread to central parts of the country.
Urban areas have seen a sharp rise in the number of cases of the
waterborne disease -- a sign of poor sanitation and hygiene, and a
shortage of safe drinking water. Only 0.6 percent of households
across the country use proper latrines, while 88 percent defecate in
the open, according to the government. There is no garbage collection
system in villages and waste water disposal is almost non-existent in
The World Health Organisation says the hygienic disposal of human
faeces, an adequate supply of safe drinking water, and good food
hygiene are essential to prevent outbreaks. However in Chad, many
communities depend on contaminated water from rivers and ponds
throughout the year. And the movement of people across borders has
kept up the spread of cholera even through the dry season.
The pattern of the outbreak has been similar in Cameroon, Nigeria,
and Chad, which share river basins and have a constant flow of people
across their shared borders. There is also evidence of people with
suspected cases crossing the border in search of free treatment that
is available in Chad but not in neighbouring countries. There is no
inter-governmental plan at the national level, but local health
authorities are collaborating across the borders.
UNICEF has given medical supplies to the Chadian ministry of health
and to aid groups responding to the outbreak. The agency is also
helping to disinfect public places in the capital N'Djamena and
spread public health messages on hygiene and sanitation.
Medical charities -- Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) France, MSF
Holland, MSF Switzerland, and Medecins du Monde -- are treating
patients at government-run cholera centres.
Other aid groups, including Action Against Hunger (ACF) and Oxfam are
running water and sanitation projects in various communities. The
Chadian Red Cross and the France-based charity Secours Islamique are
visiting people's homes in the worst-affected areas of the capital,
offering advice on how to prevent the disease from spreading.
[Byline: George Fominyen]
[The cholera outbreak in Chad is linked to the outbreaks in the
region that have affected Nigeria and Cameroon since the 3 countries
share river basins. The outbreak in Chad has, however, persisted for
many months now and even straddled through the dry season due to the
negligible proportion of homes with sanitation facilities as well as
poor access to safe water. Control of such epidemics in the long term
will rely heavily in investing resources to improve access to safe
water and sanitation facilities otherwise cholera will remain an
endemic disease in the country.
A map showing the regions of Chad can be seen at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regions_of_Chad and the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the country can be seen at
http://healthmap.org/r/009u. - Mod.JFW]