Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cholera outbreak in Ethiopia has infected 18,000 people

Reuters has found a document that tells of a cholera outbreak in Ethiopia that was unknown before now. African governments often keep such outbreaks under wraps for fears on how it will effect tourism and exports. The document that reveals this are minutes of a meeting that was attended by health NGO's and U.N. health leaders.

From the Reuters article, reporter Barry Malone found out that this cholera outbreak has afflicted 18,000 people.

"To date there are approximately 14,000 cases of AWD/Cholera (in the regions) and an additional 4,000 from Addis Ababa," the minutes of the meeting said.

Addis Ababa usually suffers less from diarrhoea epidemics than other parts of the country, but the city's health authorities are investigating the hygiene standards of hundreds of hotels and restaurants, according to local media.

Health workers, who declined to be named, told Reuters the fatality rate was 2 percent when the outbreak began but that it had been reduced as local and international agencies stepped up their response.

"The case fatality rate is falling as the response matures," the minutes of the meeting said. "The epidemic is now in its second phase, case load taking the form of a series of peaks over a protracted period."

Ethiopia's Health Ministry said last week that 34 people had died from AWD but it had not yet confirmed any cholera cases.

The government and international charities are distributing antibiotics and emergency treatment centres have been opened across the country -- including under tents in the grounds of several hospitals in the capital.

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