Zambia's biggest-ever cholera outbreak kills 700

Zambia's biggest-ever cholera outbreak kills 700
A health worker takes care of patients at a cholera treatment center of a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, Jan. 5, 2024. Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Friday called for concerted efforts to tackle rising cholera cases in the country, especially in Lusaka, the country's capital. The Zambian president said the government was monitoring the cholera outbreak and would continue implementing measures to contain its spread. Zambia has been battling a cholera outbreak since October last year, with Lusaka the hardest hit. (Photo by Martin Mbangweta/Xinhua via Getty Images)

BBC AFRICA | The death toll from Zambia's cholera outbreak has risen to almost 700, says the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

It is the largest ever recorded in the country. It began in the capital, Lusaka, in October and has since spread to all of Zambia's provinces infecting more 19,000 people.

MSF says cholera is easily treated - with rehydration - but without the proper care a person can die in a few hours.

The disease is caused by contaminated water, so access to clean drinking water is vital to stopping it spreading further.

In January, the African Centre for Disease Control Support said a total of 11,304 cases and 448 deaths have been reported from 47 districts in nine Provinces, and of the total deaths reported, 199 were health facility deaths, while 249 were community deaths.

The cholera outbreak in Zambia began in October 2023 following the detection of clusters of cases from Lusaka (Matero and Kanyama suburbs, currently known as the epicentre).

Since then, the outbreak has spread to nine of the ten Provinces, with a marked increase in transmission observed between mid-December 2023 and January 2024.

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