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Dr Claire Lyse Shaignat, WHO
"The South Africans are doing very well in containing the cholera outbreak"
 real 28k

Friday, 5 January, 2001, 13:08 GMT
Cholera spreads in Southern Africa
Southern Africa
The outbreak has spread beyond KwaZulu-Natal
Five people are reported to have died of cholera in Mozambique, as the water-borne disease spreads through the eastern part of Southern Africa.

Mozambican officials said the deaths had occurred in poor areas of the capital, Maputo, where sanitation is inadequate.

Cases have also been reported in three provinces of South Africa, and in the neighbouring country of Swaziland.

The health department in South Africa's Gauteng province - South Africa's commercial and industrial heartland surrounding Johannesburg - reported two cases of the disease on Thursday.

Mpumalanga province in South Africa's north-east has opened an emergency isolation ward to treat 10 cholera cases, the South African Press Association (Sapa) reported.

Sapa also said the Swazi authorities had reported six cases of cholera.

The recent outbreak of cholera was first reported in KwaZulu-Natal province on South Africa's east coast, where it has killed more than 50 people in the past five months.

More than 12,000 people have been infected in the province.

Boy collects water
The South African Government has laid on clean water supplies
The rate of infection has increased dramatically with the onset of the rainy season, and hundreds of new cases have been reported in the past few days.

The government has approached the World Health Organisation in an attempt to find ways to contain the spread of the disease.

Diease of poverty

Following the meeting, the government said it would release extra funds to improve sanitation in the KwaZulu-Natal area and to pay for a wide-ranging public health campaign.

For its part, WHO has promised to bring in experts to provide advice on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

The government has described cholera as a disease of poverty, and it is the poorest who are most at risk - particularly those who live in underdeveloped rural areas and rely on rivers and streams for their drinking water.

But critics have accused the government of exacerbating the problem by introducing charges for access to clean water - a move that has prompted some people to try to save money by getting their water from contaminated sources.

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