Cholera is a bacterial infection, mostly transmitted through the consumption of water contaminated with the Vibrio cholerae bacteria.
Outbreaks can occur periodically in any part of the world where water supplies, sanitation, food safety and hygiene practices are inadequate. Overpopulated communities, usually in the developing world, with poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water supplies are most frequently affected.
Recent global outbreaks:
- A cholera outbreak has killed at least seven people and infected 33 others in December 2007 in western Kenya. The fatalities included three children and four adults.
- 20 Cases of cholera were reported in November 2007 in the central Zambezia province in Mozambique. 2 people died.
- In August 2007 a serious cholera outbreak hit northern Iraq. An estimated 30 000 people fell ill with acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), usually associated with cholera.
- In August 2007 WHO reported 2060 cases of AWD in Somaliland, in the eastern “Horn of Africa” region. 31 people died.
- From April 2006 to February 2007, 680 people died in Ethiopia (also in East Africa) from a suspected cholera outbreak, however, country health officials never officially declared the outbreak.
- Djibouti, also situated on the eastern “Horn of Africa” reported 322 cases and 23 deaths from cholera in February 2007. By May another 76 cases has occurred, five of whom died.
- In 2006 Angola was hit by a severe cholera outbreak. The country reported a total of almost 70 000 cases including 2760 deaths.
- Between January and June 2006 a total of 16 187 cases, including 476 deaths of AWD was reported in southern Sudan.