Cholera Outbreak Sickens Thousands in DRC

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations officials say a cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 250 people and caused nearly 4,000 others to become ill.

A cholera outbreak has been declared in four provinces with northeastern Orientale province showing the most cases.

In a statement last week, the World Health Organization said it fears the disease will spread along the Congo River, to places like the capital Kinshasa where there are thousands of people without safe water.

The DRC government, and international aid organizations have increased health promotion activities and constructed treatment centers to try and stop the outbreak.

Felix Tran of the aid group Doctors Without Borders says the epidemic began exploding in June with the town of Bolobo reporting a rate of 20 cases per day.

He said a mobile medical team from the group built an emergency treatment center in the town and have seen nearly 1,000 patients.

Cholera is a preventable bacterial infection spread through contaminated water. It causes diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death.