On 13 September, the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed twelve Vibrio cholerae serotype Inaba positive cases tested at public health laboratories during the four precedent days. The cases were identified in the governorates of Najaf, Diwaniya and Baghdad. On 15 September, the MoH declared a cholera outbreak in these same governorates.
The number of cases identified in Abu Ghraib district, western Baghdad, continues to increase. By 20 September, a total of 423 acute diarrhoea cases were admitted in Abu Ghraib hospital; out of which 305 (72%) were moderate cases, while 118 (28%) were classified as severe cases. 85% of the cases were concentrated in the communities of Al-Nasir and Al-Zaydan.
Field investigation teams and health care providers have been deployed to affected areas, to strengthen surveillance, case findings and standardize case management. Water authorities, at the national and subnational levels, have started actions to improve the safety of water supply, through chlorination, periodic monitoring of the quality of water and hygiene promotion. Coordination between water and health authorities, supported by the international humanitarian response, is essential as the outbreak is water-borne – linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
ECHO has mobilized its support to WASH and Health actors active in these locations, reinforcing the availability of safe drinking water, active case finding and decentralised treatment and increasing health and hygiene promotion assistance at community level.
The living conditions for host communities and internally displaced persons, in the affected locations, are reasons of great concern, as well as the limited chlorination capacity in the country and the expected pilgrimage season to these governorates.