Rains could spark cholera powder keg

A young man surveys the aftermath of flooding in May 2015.  Photo by Daniel Hayduk

A young man surveys the aftermath of flooding in May 2015. The onset of rainy season could escalate the ongoing cholera outbreak and has some thinking about the ‘biggest ever cholera epidemic’ in 1997. Photo by Daniel Hayduk

While the number of daily reported cases of cholera is declining at the moment, the World Health Organization (WHO) says rainy season could spark rapid spread of the disease.

“The upcoming rainy season and the strongest forecasted El Nino event in twenty years could bring extensive flooding and unusually high rainfalls, and increase the transmission and international spread of the disease,” says the WHO report.

In 1997, the WHO says similar meteorological conditions were associated with the biggest ever cholera epidemic in recent history — where over 40,000 cases were reported in Tanzania alone.

The ongoing country-wide cholera outbreak has killed 150 people as of November 25.

“The number of daily reported cases is declining … Across the country, at least 9,871 cases have been reported.”

A large percentage are in Dar es Salaam — 4,482 cases — however cholera has also spread to Zanzibar, where 425 cases and 9 deaths have been reported.

The WHO says the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) national task force is in the ‘final stages’ of preparing a national response plan.

Read more: Data & drones combat Dar’s floods

Read more: Cholera death toll continues to climb

Read more: Cholera in Dar

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