Zambia Cholera Outbreak - UNICEF Situation Report #4, 1 April 2016

Situation Report
Originally published



  • 567 cases of cholera have been reported in Zambia since the 6th epidemiological week of 2016 (5 February 2016). The cases have been reported from the following districts: Lusaka (481) and Rufunsa (1) in Lusaka Province (482), Chibombo in Central province (23), Nsama in Northern Province (61) and Ndola in Copperbelt Province (1).

  • 156 of the 567 cholera cases have been laboratory confirmed.

  • The index case was in Kanyama Compound in Lusaka district and later spread to the neighbouring district of Chibombo. All the reported cases seem to be linked to the Lusaka outbreak but the cases in Nsama district seem to be imported from DR Congo.

  • There were 31 cases under treatment in Lusaka, Nsama and Ndola district on the 30 March.

  • 6 deaths have been reported since the onset of the outbreak. Of the six, three were children aged 18 months, 4 years and 2 years.


5 Districts Affected

567 Cumulative Cholera Cases Reported

156 Cumulative Cholera Cases Confirmed

6 Deaths to date of which 3 are children

Situation Overview

Since 5 February, 567 cumulative cases of cholera have been reported in Zambia; 481 in Lusaka City and 1 in Rufunsa district in Lusaka Province; 23 in Chibombo in Central province, 61 in Nsama in Northern Province and 1 in Ndola in Copperbelt Province. One hundred and fifty six (156) of these cases have been laboratory confirmed as cholera.

As of the 30 March 2016, there were 31 cases under treatment, 28 in Lusaka and 3 in Nsama district. Six cholera related deaths have been reported since the onset of the outbreak, three of which were children - one 18 month old baby suspected index case who died before arrival to hospital, a 2-year old child who died at Kanyama CTC presenting with fever, anaemia, diarrhoea and vomiting and a 4-year old child who died in Nsama district. Case fatality rate is estimated to be 1.09% nationally and 0.86% for Lusaka Province.

The outbreak has spread to three more districts (Rufunsa, Nsama and Ndola) since the last situation report. Apart from the Nsama outbreak which seem to be linked to the outbreak in DR Congo, all the rest are linked to the Lusaka outbreak. In Lusaka, most of the cases are reported from Bauleni (61%) and Kanyama (38%) compounds. The Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners have intensified prevention measures in these two compounds in Lusaka district.

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.

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.

UNICEF has continued to provide support to the national Cholera response, focus will now be on Nsama district which has reported high numbers of cases. Nsama is a rural district with limited resources (human and financial) to mount a robust response, thus has a high potential for loss of life if not supported adequately.