Cholera kills 8 in Iraq's Babil province

Local Iraqi authorities declared a state of emergency on Monday after cholera killed eight people in Babil province south of Baghdad in three days, with another 500 suspected to have contracted the disease.

Cholera kills 8 in Iraq's Babil province

Twenty other cases of cholera, which can sometimes kill victims with sudden severe diarrhoea, have been confirmed. Officials declared the state of emergency at a news conference.

Scarcity of water during Iraq's scorching summer forces many to drink water from unsafe sources. More than 4,000 cases of cholera were diagnosed in Iraq last year, killing at least 24.

The disease then jumped into neighbouring Iran, the World Health Organisation said at the time.

Babil province borders Baghdad, where Iraq's general director of public health on Sunday told Reuters six people had been diagnosed with cholera.

A boy has also died of the disease in southern Maysan province, where the government said on Monday it had dispatched a delegation from the Environment Ministry to combat its spread.

Cholera is characterised in its most severe form by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhoea that can sometimes cause death by severe dehydration and kidney failure within hours. It is mainly transmitted through contaminated water and food.

Water and sewage are a perennial challenge in Iraq, where war and neglect have hindered the overhaul of public works.

Iraq is trying to control cholera by early diagnosis, distributing sterilisation tablets and an awareness campaign.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Eylül 2008, 14:28
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