Description of the disaster
From August to December 2016, the Central African Republic (CAR) faced a serious cholera epidemic outbreak which caused damage and death among the CAR population. According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and WHO situational report dated on 7 August 2016, from 27 July to 5 August 2016, at least 36 cases of acute watery diarrhea with severe dehydration were reported in villages along River Ubangi.
In addition, eight (8) deaths were also reported in Mourou-fleuve village, in the Ndjoukou district, Kemo Province. A further nine (9) cases of acute watery diarrhea with severe dehydration, including five deaths, were recorded between 5 and 10 August 2016 at Zawara, Danga and Massamba villages in the Damara district and one case at the Bruxelles neighborhood in Bangui.
On 10 August, the Pasteur Institute of Bangui confirmed the presence of Vibrio Cholerae in the sample taken from the affected cases that originated from Zawara village. On the same day, the MoH, during a press conference, declared a state of emergency for cholera epidemic outbreak in the CAR.
The risk of spread of cholera was very high and the situation was likely going to worsen if this was not addressed in a timely manner. due to the high mobility of the population as well as the rainy season which lasts into November.
According to the MoH and WHO, the cholera epidemic outbreak reached the capital, Bangui, on the 1st September 2016, with at least four (4) positive cases in the second and third districts; especially in the Benzvi and Boeing neighborhoods of the city. The most affected areas remained the 1st, 4th, and the 7th health province of the country.
According to CAR health cluster report of 20 September 2016, from 5 July to 20 September 2016, some 266 affected cases were registered with 21 deaths (lethality rate: 7.8%). Later, the CAR health cluster meeting, held on the 8 November 2016, revealed that the laboratory results of the sample taken on the 266th suspected case were found negative to the vibrio cholera. This case was therefore removed from the linear list, thus reducing the number of registered cases to 265 cholera cases including 139 children under 15 years old, with some 20 deaths (lethality rate: 7.5%). In addition, eight cases of infection to vibrio cholera and one case of serotype Inaba were confirmed by the Pasteur Institute of Bangui. The last confirmed case was registered in Bangui on the 23 September 2016. The Minister of Health, in a Press conference held on 4 January 2017, officially declared the end of the cholera epidemic in the country while advising the population to be vigilant.