Cholera outbreak kills over 60 – aid group – RT World News
The disease is spreading in Syria, thousands of people are infected, warns Caritas Germany
The number of cholera cases and deaths in Syria is rising sharply as the outbreak has already infected thousands of people across the country, warns non-profit humanitarian organization Caritas International.
In a press release on Wednesday, the Germany-based organization said it was « extremely worried » on the trend, noting that the outbreak was « very unusual in the Middle East and Syria » and was a clear symptom of the « Disastrous development » in the country.
« The poverty that has been growing for years and the poor hygienic conditions, in which refugees and displaced people in particular have to live, are the fertile ground on which this typical disease of poverty is now spreading », warned the head of the group’s Middle East division, Christoph Klitsch-Ott.
According to Caritas, at least 13,059 people in Syria have been infected with the disease since early September, and more than 60 people have officially died from the main symptoms of cholera – diarrhea and vomiting. Polluted drinking water tanks and contaminated vegetables are thought to be the main culprits behind the outbreak.
Caritas notes that the last 12 years of war in Syria have severely damaged the country’s health infrastructure, as some 13 million people currently lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. It should be noted that the situation is particularly devastating in refugee camps, where people are forced to live in confined spaces and have limited access to sources of drinking water.
While the non-profit organization has worked to distribute clean water and sanitizers to heavily affected areas of the country, there are fears the disease will continue to spread, not just in Syria but across the country. Middle East, according to Klitsch-Ott.
Last month, the World Health Organization also warned of cholera outbreaks in some 26 countries around the world, saying the average death rate this year was three times higher than the previous five years.
WHO team leader for cholera and epidemic diarrheal diseases, Philippe Barboza, called on countries to « act now » to prevent the disease from spreading further and to find ways to produce more cholera vaccines and expand access to antibiotics and clean water.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by bacterial infection of the intestine. People tend to catch the disease when they swallow food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria. The infection is believed to affect millions of people worldwide each year but, in most cases, symptoms are mild or non-existent. However, if left untreated, the disease can quickly become fatal, especially for the elderly as well as for those suffering from dehydration.
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