The trend of notified cases of cholera in the West and Central Africa declined in 2021, compared to the last four years, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.
In a report, UNICEF said the case-fatality rate (4.55%) in 2021 remains the highest of the last four years, with a particular focus on Cameroon where the case-fatality rate is 75%.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
It remains a global threat to public health and is an indicator of inequity and lack of social development. Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if not treated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
UNICEF said the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been the most affected country in the region by cholera epidemics in the last five years, with 99% of notified cases in 2017, 96% in 2018, 96% in 2019, 85% in 2020 and 88% in 2021.
However, since 2019, the situation in the Central African country is gradually improving, the UN agency said.
“Between 2020 and 2021, the country recorded its most reported cases decrease at week 8, passing from 4,530 cases to 1,350 with a reduction of 70.20%,” according to UNICEF.