Yemen cholera outbreak increases to 10,000 cases per week: WHO

Yemen’s cholera outbreak which is known to be the worst in the world – is accelerating once again, with almost 10,000 suspected cases which are now being reported per week, the latest data given by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed on Tuesday.

That is almost double the average rate for the first 8 months of 2018, when 154,527 suspected cholera cases – which could kill a child within few hours if it is untreated – were recorded throughout the country, with 196 deaths.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told that 185,160 suspected cases of cholera were reported in the month of September.

About 1.8 million children in Yemen are known to be malnourished, which makes them more vulnerable to such a disease, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says. They include almost 400,000 whose lives are at risk from acute malnutrition.

Since cholera epidemic in Yemen broke out in April 2017, a total of 1.2 million suspected Cholera cases have been reported with 2,515 deaths, Jasarevic said to a news briefing. About 30 percent of Children were affected by the infections.

“We have been seeing the number of cases of cholera increasing regularly in Yemen since June. This increase has been a lot more important in the past three weeks,” Jasarevic added.

In September’s first week, about 11,500 suspected cases were said to be reported, with an increase of 9,425 as compared to the week before, he said.

The charity named Save the Children told air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in July had damaged a sanitation facility and a water station which supplies water to Hodeidah, which is a port city and supply lifeline owned by Houthi forces.

“Post this incident, suspected cases of cholera almost doubled from July (732) to August (1,342) in the health centers supported by Save the Children,” it said.

The WHO also mentioned that 16 percent of cholera cases in Yemen were in Hodeidah, where only half of the health facilities are known to be operational.

If the acute diarrhea is caught early, it can be treated by oral hydration salts, but more acute cases may need intravenous fluids as well as antibiotics.

The WHO is now administering vaccinations, which targets 540,000 people in three most affected districts in Hodeidah and Ibb governorates. In the first round, 387,000 people – 72 percent of the targeted people – received an initial dose, Jasarevic said, also mentioning that the organization wants to extend the program to various other parts of Yemen.

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