Zimbabwe: Cholera Dynamics in Space and Time (Sep-Dec 2008)


Zimbabwe: Cholera Dynamics in Space & Time
The Department of State's Humanitarian Information Unit has conducted an analysis of the dynamics of the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe.  The results of the HIU analysis supports the conclusion that the spread of cholera in Zimbabwe has not been along flood plains, watersheds, or river tributaries, but has been almost entirely focused on discrete urban concentrations, facilitated primarily by a breakdown in the sanitation and hygiene infrastructure.  The extent of reported cases of cholera in Zimbabwe expanded rapidly in November and the magnitude of local infections grew dramatically in December.   The cholera outbreak has coincided with a rainy season that is wetter than the norm, increasing the risk of spreading as flood waters recede, leaving behind infested stagnant ponds that are the only option for people otherwise without access to potable water.  
In 2008, five percent of cholera cases resulted in a fatality, a rate that is five times the global average and nearly twice the average for sub-Saharan Africa.  Outbreaks of cholera beyond the borders of Zimbabwe, particularly in Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa, remain primarily concentrated among the Zimbabwean population in the affected countries, though local populations are at risk.


US Department of State - Humanitarian Information Unit