Outbreak update – Cholera in Yemen, 7 December 2018

07 December 2018 - The Ministry of Public Health and Population of Yemen has reported 12 289 suspected cases and 10 associated deaths during epidemiological week 45 (5 – 11 November) in 2018. Of these, 13% are severe cases. The cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases from 01 January 2018 to 11 November 2018 is 280 198, with 372 associated deaths (CFR 0.13%). Children under five represent 32% of the total suspected cases while 22 out of 23 governorates and 306 out of 333 districts in Yemen have been affected. To date, out of 9398 stool samples collected during 2018, 2899 cases have been confirmed as cholera positive by culture at central public health laboratories. This reporting period, 39 stool samples from Amanat Al Asimah, Taizz and Sanaa were tested positive.

From week 42 to week 44, the trend of weekly reported suspected cholera cases is decreasing by 14% at country level. However, there are five governorates (Al Mahwit, Ibb, Hajjah, Al Jawf, and Aden) reporting an increase in suspected cholera cases. This week, the governorates reporting the highest number of suspected cases are Sana’a (1835), Amran (1799), Ibb (1697) Dhamar (1737) and Amanat Al Asimah (1539).

WHO is assisting the Ministry along with Health and WASH cluster partners to contain the outbreak through technical and logistical support. These efforts include strengthening disease surveillance; supporting operations in diarrhoeal treatment centres and oral rehydration corners; training the health workforce on case management; deploying rapid response teams; and improving the availability of safe water and sanitation.

Cholera is endemic in Yemen. The country has experienced a surge in cholera cases since April 2017 due to ongoing conflict, destroyed infrastructure for health, water and sanitation, and malnutrition, which has made the population more vulnerable to various epidemic-prone diseases including cholera.