Mozambique confirms cholera cases among cyclone victims

Thousands of people were trapped for more than a week in submerged villages without access to clean water after the cyclone smashed into Mozambique on March 14, causing catastropic flooding. Relief efforts have increasingly focused on containing outbreaks of waterborne and infectious diseases.

In Munhava, central Beira, doctors and nurses at a newly set up treatment center said they are treating around 140 patients a day for diarrhea. Many of the patients arrive too weak to walk.

A Reuters reporter saw two men carrying an unconscious woman from a rickshaw into the clinic, trying to cover her naked body with a sheet.

Inside, those too ill to sit lay on concrete benches attached to intravenous drips. Mothers were perched on plastic chairs in the courtyard, trying to get their children to drink rehydration salts from green cups.

He won’t take it, said Marisa Salgado, 22, holding her boy, aged 1-1/2, who stared with glazed eyes.

It was the second time she had been to the clinic this week, she said. Her child’s diarrhea returned as soon as she got home, despite the chlorine solution nurses gave her to purify their water.

I’m scared. I don’t know what to do, she said.

Ussene Isse, national director of medical assistance at the Health Ministry, said he expected cholera to spread beyond the five cases confirmed as of Wednesday morning.

When you have one case, you have to expect more cases in the community, he told reporters. Health workers are battling 2,700 cases of acute watery diarrhea – which could be a symptom of cholera – Isse added.

Health workers apply the same treatment for acute diarrhea or cholera, with severe cases requiring rapid rehydration through intravenous fluids.

Such diseases are another threat in the wake of Idai, which tore through Mozambique and into neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi, killing more than 700 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of others.

Cholera is spread by faeces in sewage-contaminated water or food, and outbreaks can develop quickly in a humanitarian crisis where sanitation systems are disrupted. It can kill within hours if left untreated,

Source: Angola Press News Agency