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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 12:16 GMT
Mozambique cholera deaths mount
Southern Africa
The outbreak has spread beyond KwaZulu-Natal
The Mozambican Government says that 60 people have died of cholera in the past two weeks.

Health Minister Aida Libombo said there had been about 2,300 cases of cholera as a result of recent floods.

Thousands of people lost their lives in Mozambique a year ago as a result of torrential flooding and related water-borne diseases.

The water-borne disease has spread through the eastern part of Southern Africa with cases also reported in South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

South Africa has called in the World Health Organisation for advice and funding to combat the epidemic in its eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

At least 60 people have been killed there by cholera since August and about 16,000 are reported to have been infected.

Outbreak

In Swaziland, seven people are reported to have died in the eastern region of Lubombo bordering KwaZulu-Natal. Two people have died in the southern Zimbabwe border town of Beitbridge from the disease.


The floods devastated Mozambique a year ago
In the small Zambian town of Kabwe, 31 cases of the disease and one death have been recorded in the past week.

Paul Lusamba, WHO regional adviser in Harare, said: "This is the season when we expect cholera outbreaks in the sub-region and we have not been surprised."

The rate of infection has increased dramatically with the onset of the rainy season.

Cholera is a bacteria spread through water and unsanitary conditions, causing diarrhoea and dehydration.

The South African 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.

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See also:

02 Aug 00 | Sci/Tech
Cholera's genetic secrets revealed
31 Dec 00 | Africa
Mozambique braces for floods
03 May 00 | Africa
Mozambique picks up the pieces
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