Zambia Cholera Outbreak - UNICEF Situation Report #3, 18 March 2016

Situation Report
Originally published



  • A total of 245 cases of cholera have been reported in Zambia since the 6th epidemiological week of 2016 (5 February 2016). The cases have been report in Lusaka District (226 cases) and Chibombo District (19 cases).

  • The index case was in Kanyama Compound in Lusaka district and later spread to the neighbouring district of Chilombo, in Central Province. No new cases have been reported in Chibombo District since beginning of March 2016.

  • The Lusaka Cholera outbreak has spread and now covers 15 localities with Bauleni Compound reporting the highest number of cases in epidemiological week 11 (97 cases) and epidemiological week 12 (27 cases).

  • In Lusaka, 92 of the reported Cholera cases have been laboratory confirmed.

  • Two children have died of suspected cholera since the onset of the outbreak.

Situation Overview

Since 5 February, 245 cumulative cases of cholera have been reported in Zambia, 226 in Lusaka City, Lusaka Province and 19 cases in the neighbouring Chibombo district in Central Province. As of the morning of 16th March 2016, there were 35 admissions in the Bauleni CTC (28) and Kanyama CTC (7). Ninety seven (97) of these cases have been laboratory confirmed as cholera. As of 18 March, two cholera related deaths have been reported, one an 18 month old baby suspected index case who died before arrival to hospital and a 2 years old child who died at Kanyama CTC presenting with fever, anaemia, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The outbreak has spread geographically since the last SitRep. The outbreak that was initially confined to Kanyama high density catchment area but has now spread to other areas within the district which together with Kanyama bring the total number of cases reported in Lusaka district to 226. The other affected locations are Bauleni, Mahopo, Chilenje, Chainda and Mtendere in Lusaka Province; and Twalumba catchment area in Chibombo district in Central Province. The highest number of cases are being reported from Bauleni compound, an area with an approximate population of 120,000 people.

An analysis of the cases shows that the spread of the outbreak is mainly due to unsafe drinking water and faecal contamination. The affected areas are high densely populated residential areas served by unimproved pit latrines and mostly shallow wells. Bauleni community water sources are mainly boreholes – however, one of these was found to be contaminated (due to its proximity to a soak way and that many cholera cases were found to be coming from the localities supplied by this borehole). The Ministry of Health (MoH) has closed this borehole until it is properly disinfected. Treatment of contaminated water points in all localities is ongoing.

The Zambia Electricity and Supply Corporation (ZESCO) has widened its exemption from power rationing for the affected localities to improve water supply during this period of the outbreak.
The government continues to lead the response of the current Cholera outbreak at national, provincial and district level.

Districts have been put under high alert with ongoing cholera prevention messages being sent out using radio, interpersonal communication, print media and other communication media.