Wed, Dec 03, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Death toll at 473 in latest Zimbabwean outbreak of cholera

AFP , HARARE

Cholera has killed 473 people in Zimbabwe in the latest outbreak of the disease, the WHO office in Harare said in a report, a copy of which was received yesterday.

“A large cholera outbreak is affecting most regions of the country, with more than 11,700 cases and 473 deaths recorded between August and November 30,” Custodia Mandlhate of the WHO’s Zimbabwe office wrote in the report.

CASE FATALITY

“This represents a case fatality rate [CFR] of 4.0 percent nationally, but reached 50 percent in some areas during the early stages of the outbreak. The CFR benchmark should be below one percent,” the statement said.

It warned that the fatality rate “may rapidly escalate in populations without rapid access to simple treatments.”

Zimbabwean Health Minister David Parirenyatwa had said on Sunday that the official death toll stood at 425 with 11,071 cases.

SPREADING ABROAD

The UN warned on Friday that the water-borne disease was also spreading into neighboring Botswana and South Africa.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that a total of 9,908 cases had been recorded in the impoverished southern African country.

“The cholera outbreak has strained Zimbabwe’s overburdened health care system and resulted in a nationwide shortage of medicines and other materials for treatment, aggravating the scarcity of health care providers and the poor access to overall care,” the WHO said.

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