Epidemic and pandemic-prone diseases | Outbreaks | Cholera | Outbreak update - Cholera in Yemen, 5 May 2019

Outbreak update - Cholera in Yemen, 5 May 2019

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12 May 2019 - The Ministry of Public Health and Population of Yemen reported 18,171 suspected cases of cholera with 13 associated deaths during epidemiological week 18 (29 April – 5 May) of 2019. Fifteen percent of cases were severe. The cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases from 1 January 2018 to 28 April 2019 is 668,891 with 1,081 associated deaths (CFR 0.16%). Children under five represent 22.7% of total suspected cases during 2019. The outbreak has affected 22 of 23 governorates and 294 of 333 districts in Yemen.

From week 8 in 2019, the trend of weekly reported suspected cholera cases started increasing and reached a peak of more than 29500 cases in week 14. During weeks 15 to 18 new case numbers began to fall, although it is too early to conclude a downward trend. The decline may be attributed to enhanced efforts to control the outbreak such as enhancement in the community engagement and WaSH activities, and scaling up of response by WHO and partners, including establishing of additional DTCs and ORCs. Another factor is the first round of the OCV campaign which took place in April in 3 districts of Amanat Al Asimah Governorate, reaching 1,088,101 people (88% of the target).

The governorates reporting the highest number of suspected cases of cholera during 2019 were Amanat Al Asimah (50,166), Sana’a (36,527), Al Hudaydah (30,925), Ibb (26,421), Dhamar (26,421) and Arman (25,244). 

Of a total 5610 samples tested since January 2019, 2920 have been confirmed as cholera-positive by culture at the central public health laboratories. During this reporting period the governorates which reported the highest number of positive culture were Amanat Al Asimah (893), Taizz (704) and Sana’a (342).   

WHO continues to provide leadership and support for activities with health authorities and partners to respond to this ongoing cholera outbreak, including case management, surveillance and laboratory investigations, hotspot mapping and OCV campaign planning, water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) and risk communication.