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Cholera in Africa (Update 2)

06 Dec 2017

On 1 December 2017 the World Health Organisation (WHO)  reported that cholera outbreaks are continuing across the African continent.

Burundi: during week ending 28 october, there were 9 suspected cases in Cibitoke (6) and Isare (3) health zones. A total of 147 cases were reported up to 30 October 2017, from seven districts.

Chad: in the week ending 11 November 2017, 9 new cases were reported in the Salamat region: Am-Timan (2), Mirer (5), Khachkhacha (1) and Mouraye (1). A total of 789 cases 27 deaths was reported in Salamat region from 10 September to 11 November 2017. This brings the outbreak total since 14 August 2017 to 1 225 cases and 79 deaths.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: In the week ending 18 November 2018, 1 908 new suspected cases and 58 deaths were reported. Most of these were in North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika, Haut Lomami, and Kongo Central.  Lualaba province reported cases for the first time in the week ending 11 November 2017. Since 1 January 2017 there have been 47 841 cases and 968 deaths.

Kenya: the outbreak is active in Nairobi, Garissa, Mombasa, Wajir,Turkana, Embu, and Kirinyaga counties. About 60% of cases have been reported in Nairobi county. The total to 29 November 2017 is 3 967 cases and 76 deaths.

Nigeria: 19 states (excluding Borno) have reported 3 656 cases and 84 deaths up to 4 November 2017. Borno State has reported 5 347 cases and 61 deaths as of 24 November 2017.

South Sudan: transmission of cholera is declining. In the past four weeks, only Juba and Budi counties have reported cases. The total to 15 November 2017 is 21 439 cases and 461 deaths.

Tanzania: the cholera trend on the Tanzanian Mainland is increasing, with 9 out of 26 regions now affected. The total to 26 November 2017 is 4 092 cases and 69 deaths.

Uganda: 12 sub-counties in Kasese District are now affected with Nyakiyumbu Sub County the most affected in the district. Another outbreak involving 3 cases has been identified in Kisoro district. The total to 24 November 2017 is 226 cases and 4 deaths.

Zambia: cholera incidence has increased in recent weeks. From the beginning of the outbreak on 28 October  to 29 November 2017, a total of 389 cases and 10 deaths have been reported The outbreak has spread from the western side to the eastern side of Lusaka city. Chipata, Kanyama, Chawama, Matero, Chilenje, and Chelston subdistricts are affected.

Advice to Travellers

Prevention is focused on ensuring safe water and food, particularly in countries where cholera is more common or where outbreaks occur (see individual country record). Food and drink to be wary of include untreated water, ice, shellfish, salads, unwashed fruit and vegetables.

Good personal hygiene is essential. Individuals should ensure that they wash their hands frequently, prior to eating and after visiting the bathroom.

A vaccine is available to protect against cholera but as the risk to most travellers is very low, it is only recommended in the following circumstances:

  • Volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where cholera outbreaks likely.
  • Those travelling to work in slums/refugee camps, areas affected by natural disasters, or countries experiencing cholera outbreaks and where care with food and water is difficult or not possible.

For further information see Cholera