Vigilance against new cholera strain in West Africa

An post from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) Blog
August 6, 2013
Vigilance against new cholera strain in West Africa


August 6, 2013 -- A new strain of cholera with its origins in Southeast Asia has firmly anchored itself on African soil. More virulent than the ones traditionally found on the continent, this same strain was responsible for more than 8 000 deaths in Haïti and has touched down in West Africa in recent years. Although we’re only at the very beginning of the rainy season, when cholera outbreaks generally occur, several countries in the region already report dozens of cholera cases. Some of these are so-called residual cases from last year’s epidemics, but new outbreaks have manifested themselves in politically instable countries like Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

“We know that last year’s epidemics in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau are related. The first cholera patients emerged in fishing communities along the coastline and the transport and handling of fish were key in spreading the deadly bacteria all the way to the various capitals,” says Christophe Valingot, the European Commission´s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)´s expert for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Read the rest of the article here.

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