TANZANIA: Cholera outbreak in northern region, says government official

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ten people have died and 20 others were admitted to various health centres after an outbreak of cholera in the northern Tanzanian region of Mara over the past week, a senior health official said.

"The disease was confirmed on Thursday. Medical supplies and teams of doctors and nurses were immediately dispatched to Bunda district, where the disease was first reported on Tuesday [31 July]," Valentino Bhangi, medical officer in charge of Mara region told IRIN by phone from Musoma on 4 August.

Cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Symptoms include watery diarrhoea and vomiting and it is spread by eating contaminated food or water.

In Tanzania, cases of cholera are regularly reported in the rainy seasons.

In 2006, heavy rains that followed a long drought brought relief but also washed waste into water catchment areas, sparking a cholera outbreak on the mainland and in the Zanzibar archipelago.

At least 22 people died in Zanzibar and 15 on the mainland.

Bhangi told IRIN that Mara regional authorities had launched an aggressive public education campaign in which people were being urged to boil drinking water, use toilets and wash hands before and after eating.

Source: IRIN
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