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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

WHO confirms global resurgence and records 1,900 deaths

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a resurgence of cholera cases in countries in Africa, East Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by an intestinal infection by the bacteria “vibrio cholerae”. The disease is highly infectious and is transmitted mainly through contaminated water and food.

This is stated in a bulletin recently issued by the organization.

Statistics

According to the United Nations Agency, around 195,000 cases of cholera have been reported in the five regions between January and May, with the Eastern Mediterranean Region reporting the highest number of cases of more than 98,000 cases in seven countries.

Africa has the second highest number of cases, with 92,789 cases from 14 countries. A far margin from what happened in America, where around 3,700 cases were registered in one country, the third highest number of cases in an affected region.

These data, the WHO said, combine suspected and confirmed cases of the disease.

In Southeast Asia, the WHO said, around 1,400 cases have been reported in two countries, and in Europe, 105 cases in one country.

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Currently, more than 1,900 cases of death have been reported worldwide due to the outbreak of the disease.

In terms of recorded death cases, Africa ranks first with 1,698 deaths, followed by the Eastern Mediterranean with 256 deaths.

The United States has recorded 13 deaths, Southeast Asia has four deaths and Europe has reported only one death.

“No cases were reported in the Western Pacific region,” the WHO said in its bulletin.

Increasing number of cases

In May, according to the most recent data available, around 46,364 new cases of cholera were reported in 19 countries in these regions.

This, the WHO noted, is an increase of 58 percent compared to what could be obtained the previous month.

“In the same period, 185 cholera-related deaths were recorded, representing a decrease of 37 percent compared to the previous month,” the WHO said in the bulletin.

The highest number of fatalities was recorded in Africa, with 130 deaths in 10 countries.

According to the WHO, the highest number of deaths was recorded in Comoros, which had 54 deaths; Ethiopia, with 28 deaths; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 18; Zimbabwe, with 12 cases of death; and the United Republic of Tanzania, with ten cases of death.

The WHO said these countries have also reported the highest number of cholera infections in the region in the past five months.

Outbreak in Nigeria

Nigeria is not mentioned in the WHO bulletin and, compared to countries on the WHO list, has reported significantly fewer infections, especially during the period under review.

However, Newslodgereported that the country, very recently, has been experiencing an increase in the number of recorded cases.

According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), the country has recorded 65 confirmed cases of cholera, with 30 deaths between January 1 and June 11 in 96 local governments in 30 states.

In 2024, a total of 1,141 suspected cases were recorded in 10 states, including Lagos, where state authorities confirmed the outbreak.

Vaccination

Globally, there have been several new requests for cholera vaccine, the WHO said in the bulletin.

However, the global agency said stocks of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) are significantly limited and demand for the vaccine continues to outstrip supply.

The WHO said: “Since January 2023, 16 countries have ordered 92 million doses of OCV, almost double the 49 million doses produced during this period.

“Insufficient stocks of cholera vaccines to respond to all simultaneous cholera outbreaks, which has led to the suspension of preventive campaigns and a transition from a two-dose strategy to a single-dose strategy.”

The WHO also said that between January and May 2024, vaccine stocks were completely depleted.

“Based on the number of outbreaks and their geographical spread, together with the shortage of vaccines and other resources, WHO continues to assess the global risk as very high, and the event remains classified as a grade 3 emergency,” it added.

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