Guinea + 1 more

Cholera outbreak strikes West Africa after rains

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CONAKRY, July 11 (Reuters) - A cholera outbreak has killed 49 people in Guinea and neighbouring Guinea Bissau since the start of June and infected nearly 2,400 more, health officials in the two countries said on Monday.

The water-borne disease is a recurring problem in West Africa, occurring during particularly heavy rainy seasons. An outbreak in Guinea's capital Conakry killed nearly 100 people in 1994.

"We have now registered 398 cases of cholera including 27 deaths," Dr Emmanuel Rolland Molano, head of the anti-cholera unit at Guinea's health ministry, told Reuters.

Most cases in the country including the vast majority of deaths occurred in Daara, a village of just 1,500 people some 400 km (250 miles) inland from Conakry.

"In this village alone we have registered 230 cases including 21 deaths," said Molano. He said the high death toll was due to the relative isolation of Daara, 100 km from the nearest proper medical facilities.

A team of 15 medics had travelled to Daara to tend the sick and bury the victims in sanitary conditions to avoid further infections, he said, adding that cholera cases had also been reported in other localities near Guinea's western seaboard including Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka and Conakry.

Separately, a doctor in Guinea-Bissau's capital said 2,000 cholera cases had been recorded across the country over the past month, and 22 people had died.

Samba Tenem Diallo, head of epidemiology at Bissau's main hospital, said 72 people thought to be suffering from the disease had been admitted there on Sunday alone.

"There are patients still suffering from dehydration even after several days in intensive care," he told reporters.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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