Burundi: Cholera epidemic continues to ravage Rumonge

NAIROBI, 24 February (IRIN) - A cholera epidemic in Burundi's Rumonge District, Bururi Province, peaked on Tuesday with 57 people hospitalised, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In a situation report for 17-23 February, OCHA said five cholera-related deaths had been recorded in the week under review. "A medical team from Kamenge University Hospital took five samples for tests on 18 February," the report said.

According to OCHA, Medicins Sans Frontiers-Holland undertook an evaluation mission on 20 February. "The International Rescue Committee [IRC] continues to provide clean water and disinfectant powder to Rumonge hospital, clean water to affected neighbourhoods, and [to] distribute, soap and water-treatment tablets," OCHA said, adding that the IRC had also begun spraying neighbourhoods and schools with disinfectant.

The health ministry officially declared the existence of a cholera epidemic in Rumonge on 13 February, following reports by humanitarian organisations that 25 cases had been recorded in the district. The organisations blamed the lack of safe drinking water for the outbreak in Rumonge.

Rumonge has recorded an increase in cholera cases since the late 1990s, with a team from Medecins Sans Frontieres and the World Health Organisation reporting that from 24 May to 5 June 1999, a total of 89 cases with six deaths had occurred.


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