Somalia Facing Cholera Outbreak

World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday that 18 people seeking medical attention at hospitals in Somalia had been confirmed cholera positive through laboratory tests.

WHO spokesperson Tarek Jasarevic told reporters that the 18 positive cases were confirmed thanks to 30 stool samples collected from patients seeking hospital treatment for acute watery diarrhea, a symptom that could result from cholera infection.

All confirmed cases were found to be positive for the Vibrio cholera serotype “inaba”, which had been the primary serotype in Somalia for the past three years.

“These results are an alarming reminder of the critical situation in Mogadishu and other parts of Southern, Central Somalia, (which are) still experiencing drought, population displacement and conflict,” Jasarevic said.

WHO has also reported a drastic increase of acute watery diarrhea cases in Somalia.

In June and July alone, 1,633 cases of acute watery diarrhea had been registered in Banadir Hospital, Mogadishu, which represents 38 percent of all reported cases in 2011, and a dramatic rise compared to the same period last year.

The United Nations public health division has stated that the situation was related to poor sanitation and limited access to safe water, as well as a limited capacity of existing health partners to gain access to those settlements and provide essential health treatments.

Furthermore, the high number of malnourished children due to the ongoing famine increased the likelihood of waterborne diseases.

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