cholera

A total of 33,421 cases of cholera were reported across all 26 regions of Tanzania from August 15, 2015 to January 7 this year, according to a report released on Monday by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO said in the report that Tanzania mainland accounted for 86 percent of the cases which caused 542 deaths (fatality rate of 1.62 percent).

The report shows that children under five years old accounted for 11.4 percent of cases and since the beginning of the outbreak, over 7,000 specimens were tested for cholera and 47 percent came out positive for Vibrio cholera.

As for 2017 alone, the report showed that from 1 January through 31 December, some 4,985 cases including 99 deaths were reported in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

But the report noted that the number of cases as well as the geographical spread of cholera has markedly reduced compared to the two previous years. During the same period in 2016, some 14, 547 cases and 225 deaths were reported in the country.

“Zanzibar has reported no cases since the last case was reported on 11 July 2017, however high population movement to and from Tanzania Mainland still poses a risk of spread to Zanzibar,” the report reads.

WHO noted in its report that active cholera transmission has persisted in Tanzania Mainland, with Mbeya and Songwe Regions being the most active and the country remains vulnerable to the late detection due to the weak surveillance systems.

It further warned that the closure of the fishing camps along Lake Rukwa on the Songwe Region border forced the fishermen to move further south to Kyela District which borders Malawi’s Karonga District.

The report states: “Malawi recently reported a cholera outbreak in Karonga. Cross-border population movement between the two countries might further increase the risk of transmission in Malawi. Other neighbouring countries such as DRC, Burundi, Zambia and Kenya are already experiencing large cholera outbreaks. The risk at the regional level is high.”

For Tanzania to bring an end to the disease, WHO recommended proper and timely case management in cholera treatment centers in the country and improvement of access to potable water and sanitation infrastructure and improved hygiene and food safety practices in affected communities. Enditem

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