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Cameroon: Cholera Outbreak Claims a Dozen Lives

The disease has continued to spread since four cases of cholera were recorded in the northern Cameroon town of Mayo Oulo that borders Nigeria on May 18. He says many people, especially children, have been dying both in and out of hospitals.

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many people continue to defecate in the open air or in streams and river beds where both humans and animals go to find water to drink thereby facilitating the spread of cholera.VOA
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A cholera outbreak in Cameroon has claimed at least a dozen lives. Hundreds of people have been rushed to several hospitals in the central African state. It is feared some of the cases were imported from Nigeria and may contaminate refugees fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency.

Arabo Saidou, the highest government official in charge of health in Cameroon’s north region says the first cases of cholera were reported along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria two months ago.

He says the disease has continued to spread since four cases of cholera were recorded in the northern Cameroon town of Mayo Oulo that borders Nigeria on May 18. He says many people, especially children, have been dying both in and out of hospitals.

In May, the Word Health Organization reported that Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states had been experiencing recurrent cholera outbreaks since February, with a total of 1,664 suspected cases and 31 deaths.

Many people from the three Nigerian states travel to Cameroon for business. At least a hundred thousand are in Cameroon as refugees fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency, with over 90,000 at the Minawao refugee camp.

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Cameroon’s ministry of health indicated that the disease quickly spread to Yaounde and Douala, major cities in the central African state. VOA

Issac Bayoro, a Cameroonian epidemiologist working in the Mokolo administrative area where the Minawao refugee camp is located says they are educating refugees to respect hygiene norms and are also screening Nigerians coming to the camp in a bid to protect not only the refugees but their host communities.

He says many people continue to defecate in the open air or in streams and river beds where both humans and animals go to find water to drink thereby facilitating the spread of cholera. He says hygiene is not respected as many people do not wash their hands with soap as advised. He says people should stop trusting the belief that an African is naturally vaccinated and can not die of dirt.

Cameroon’s ministry of health indicated that the disease quickly spread to Yaounde and Douala, major cities in the central African state. The case reported in Yaounde was of a teenager who travelled to Yaounde from northern Cameroon with his mother. He latter died in a hospital according to the government.

Thomas Tawe, a university student and resident of Yaounde says he fears cholera may spread rapidly in the city because just 30 percent of the population has access to good drinking water.

Also Read-Fistula Epidemic In Nigeria, Cultural Practices To Blame

“In the city of Yaounde only those who can pay can have water. When you go into the quarters (neighbourhoods) you see that people are carrying water from unhygienic sources,” said Tawe. “If the water is contaminated, automatically we will be contaminated.” (VOA)

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Cholera Infection May Be on Edge in Yemen, says WHO

Yemen may be on edge of the deadly Cholera Epidemic, says World Health Organisation

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FILE - A Yemeni woman suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sanaa. VOA
FILE - A Yemeni woman suspected of being infected with cholera receives treatment at a hospital in the capital Sanaa. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns Yemen may be on the verge of another cholera epidemic, which could be deadlier than previous ones because of widespread malnutrition in the war-torn country.

Yemen has had two major waves of cholera epidemics in recent years.

The World Health Organization reports that an increasing number of cases in several heavily populated areas over the past few weeks indicate the country may be on the cusp of a third major wave of this deadly disease.

WHO’s emergency response chief, Peter Salama, told VOA another cholera epidemic is likely to be more life-threatening than the previous ones because the population is seriously weakened after three years of civil war. Fighting has been raging between the government and rebel forces.

FILE - Public health workers spray insecticide amid fears of a new cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA
FILE – Public health workers spray insecticide amid fears of a new cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen. VOA

“What we are likely to see is that interplay with cholera and malnutrition occurring more and more and food insecurity,” he said. “And, not only more cases because of that, but even higher death rates among the cholera cases that do occur because people just do not have the physical resources to fight the disease any longer.”

Also Read: WHO: Breastfeeding Gives Babies The Best Start in Life

The United Nations is calling for three days of tranquillity between August 4 and 6. It wants the warring parties to stop fighting during this period so WHO and its partners can carry out a massive oral cholera vaccination campaign.

Salama said 3,000 health workers are being mobilized in three districts in northern Yemen. Their aim is to vaccinate more than 500,000 individuals above the age of one. Last year, cholera cases in Yemen topped one million in the world’s worst outbreak of the disease. (VOA)