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High cholera cases worldwide amid vaccine shortages

 

High cholera

 cases worldwide amid vaccine shortages


The year 2023 :

 saw a record rise in cholera cases. According to preliminary

 data from the World Health Organization (WHO)

more than 667,000 people worldwide have died.


The figures exceeded 

those recorded in 2022, and the World Health

Organization ranked the resurgence of cholera globally as a third-degree

 emergency, the highest level of internal health emergencies

according to the British newspaper Guardian.


The most severe outbreak was in Malawi, Africa and Haiti in the Caribbean

with 1771 and 1156 deaths respectively, making it the worst outbreak of

 the epidemic in Malawi's history.


"The unprecedented rate of cases and deaths is terrifying and overwhelming

 health systems in these countries," said Machinda Marongwe, director of

 Oxfam, South Africa.


"The outbreak is escalating

 into an uncontrollable health crisis."


At least 30 other 

countries have reported cases since the beginning of 2024

with Zambia announcing 7,500 new cases since October

500 new cases and 17 deaths in just 24 hours this week.


Zambian President Hakayende Hishilima urged people to move out of cities

and return to rural areas, where schools remain closed to prevent further spread.


Disinformation about the outbreak was reported

 from neighbouring Mozambique.


At least 3 people died during violence in northern Mozambique this week

when attackers burned buildings amid accusations that

 the government deliberately spread the disease.


Marongwe explained that

 Governments and agencies in the region 

needed 

"immediate funding to implement activities and projects that 

would help improve people's hygiene and access to clean water

as those factors were essential in combating the spread of the disease".


Cholera is a bacterial disease spread through contaminated 

water and food, causing severe diarrhea and vomiting.


Given the prevalence of the disease in new countries and the global shortage of cholera vaccines, WHO said it continued to assess the risk level of the disease as "very high".


Last year, the International Alliance of Vaccines "Gavi" said it 

expected global vaccine shortages to continue until at least 2025.


The outbreak of waterborne diseases has been exacerbated

 by natural disasters and floods. Last year, East Africa experienced 

devastating floods mainly caused by the climate change crisis.