Mozambique says cholera cases up to 271 in cyclone-hit city

MAPUTO, Cholera cases among cyclone survivors in Mozambique have jumped to 271, authorities said, a figure that nearly doubled from the previous day.

The Portuguese news agency Lusa cited national health director Ussein Isse, who declared the outbreak of the acute diarrheal disease on Wednesday with just five cases.

So far no cholera deaths have been confirmed, the report said. Another Lusa report said the death toll in central Mozambique from the cyclone that hit on March 14 had inched up to 501. Authorities have warned the toll is highly preliminary as flood waters recede and reveal more bodies.

The cholera cases have been discovered in the port city of Beira, whose half-million residents and especially those in crowded, poor neighborhoods are at particular risk.

Doctors Without Borders has said it is seeing some 200 likely cholera cases per day in the city, where relief workers are hurrying to restore the damaged water system and bring in additional medical assistance.

The World Health Organization has said some 900,000 cholera vaccine doses are expected to arrive on Monday, with a vaccination campaign starting later in the week.

Cholera is spread by contaminated food and water and can kill within hours if not treated. The disease is a major concern for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors in the southern African nation now living in squalid conditions in camps, schools or damaged homes. Some drink from contaminated wells or filthy, stagnant water.

Source: NAM News Network