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Once dead as Zambia reports cholera outbreak

Zambia has recorded four confirmed cases of cholera and one death amid fears of an outbreak of the disease in Eastern Province, Health Minister Sylvia Masebo announced on Friday.In a statement, Masebo said the confirmed cases and death have been reported in the province’s Vubwi district since January 22. 

A further seven suspected cases are being investigated in the same area.

“We have so far identified all the contact persons to the cases and established that the communities so far affected potentially include up to 719 people in six villages in Vubwi district,” Masebo said.

The affected villages are within Chikoma, Chipanje, Mbande and Mzigawa Rural Health Centre catchment areas, she said.

The government has activated its rapid response mechanism to deal with the outbreak, with district, provincial and national health officials dispatched to the affected areas.

The announcement comes a day after the World Health Organisation warned of a rapid spread of cholera across Africa, with 10 countries having reported outbreaks so far.

The disease has claimed more than 1,000 lives in neighbouring Malawi since March 2022, while another neighbour, Mozambique, has witnessed at least 16 cholera-related deaths over the past few weeks.

Cholera is a disease that causes severe diarrhoea, which is treatable, but can cause death from dehydration if not promptly tackled – and is caused largely by ingesting food and water contaminated by poor sanitation.

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