Published Date: 2012-03-05 09:04:07
Subject: PRO/EAFR> Cholera - Sierra Leone: (Northern)
Archive Number: 20120305.245113
CHOLERA - SIERRA LEONE: (NORTHERN)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 3 Mar 2012
Source: Africa Review [edited]
A total of 27 people have died as a result of a cholera outbreak, the
Health Ministry in Sierra Leone has declared.
Over 1000 cases have been recorded in 3 districts in the northern
region of the country -- Port Loko, Kambia, and Pujenhun. Health
ministry officials confirmed that those who have contracted the
disease did so from drinking contaminated water.
"The reported cases suggest an outbreak ... and the most affected
people contracted the cholera bacteria from drinking infected water,"
said Dr Foday Dafae of the National Disease Surveillance and Response
unit at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
Most rural areas in Sierra Leone face, among other major problems,
poor accessibility to clean drinking water. Streams are a popular
source of water for drinking, cooking and for other domestic uses.
These streams however often dry up in the dry season, forcing
inhabitants to seek extreme measures of fetching water, including
from rivers. Poor sanitary conditions, caused mainly by
unavailability of proper disposal system of human faeces, complicate
The outbreak was confirmed after a test conducted by a joint team of
experts from the health ministry and the World Health Organisation
(WHO). The 1st cases were reported in mid-January 2012 following
reports of an increase in the death rate in a cosmopolitan fishing
settlement called Yeliboya in the town of Kambia.
This followed a report in the same month published by the Ministry of
Health and the WHO, which identified 2 other regions as having a
significant upward trend in diarrhoea cases.
However, ministry officials have blamed the high death toll on late
reporting of cases to hospitals.
[Byline: Kemo Cham]
[Cholera has struck parts of the northern region in Sierra Leone with
the outbreak being attributed to consumption of contaminated water.
Communities need to be educated to detect symptoms early and should
be helped to readily access oral rehydration salts as they travel to
hospital to prevent further deaths.
Maps of Sierra Leone can be seen at
http://healthmap.org/r/1WsI. - Mod.JFW]