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Outbreak update – cholera in Yemen, 9 March 2018

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9 March 2018 – The Ministry of Public Health and Population of Yemen has recorded 3961 suspected cases of cholera, and 4 associated deaths in the country during week 8 (19–25 February) in 2018. The cumulative total of suspected cholera cases stands at 1069197 suspected cholera cases and 2262 associated deaths (case-fatality rate 0.21%) since April 2017.

So far, 22 out of 23 governorates and 306 out of 333 districts in Yemen have been affected, however the weekly trend for new cases is on the decline. During the reported period, the highest number of cases was reported from Amanat Al Asimah (595), Al Hudaydah (536), Dhamar (415), Sana’a (414), and Taizz (413).

WHO continues to support the Ministry along with Health and WASH partners to contain the outbreak through technical and logistical support. This includes strengthening disease surveillance; supporting operations in diarrhoeal treatment centres and oral rehydration corners; training the health workforce in case management; deploying rapid response teams; improving availability of safe water and sanitation. 

Laboratory capacities have been strengthened for sampling and diagnosis. Out of 2790 stool samples tested, 1104 tested positive for Vibrio cholerae bacteria. This is in addition to 31447 rapid diagnostics tests (RDT) conducted in the community. WHO has also prepositioned 45 cholera kits to serve up to 4500 beneficiaries in 13 governorates in preparation against an unexpected rise in cholera infections.

Although cholera is endemic in Yemen, the country has experienced a surge in cholera cases since April 2017 due to ongoing conflict, destroyed health, water and sanitation infrastructure and malnutrition, which has led the population to be more vulnerable to various epidemic-prone diseases, including cholera.

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