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Cholera kills over 1,200 in Malawi, WHO urges strong interventions

Health workers prepare to see patients suffering with cholera at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe central Malawi Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023.   -  
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Thoko Chikondi/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Malawi's deadliest cholera outbreak has killed at least 1,210 people, the World Health Organization announced Thursday (Feb. 09), urging for strong interventions to prevent the situation from worsening.

The Southern African nation saw a 143-percent increase in the number of cases last month compared to December.

Nearly 37,000 cases were reported since March 2022.

Malawi has carried out two large vaccination campaigns, since the outbreak began. However, due to limited supplies, the authorities offered just one of the usually recommended two oral cholera vaccine doses.

 A health ministry spokesman said last month that all the doses had been used.

The global stockpile of cholera vaccines co-managed by the WHO was "empty or extremely low" late last year, against a backdrop of surging cholera outbreaks worldwide.

Confirmed cases have been reported in neighbouring Mozambique, while poor water, sanitation and hygiene pose risk to other bordering nations- the WHO assessed.

The WHO said efforts were under way to improve sanitation and access to clean water, with house-to-house chlorination ongoing in affected communities and districts, among other interventions.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Wednesday that there were currently 23 countries in the world experiencing cholera outbreaks.

The institution's chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Wednesday (Feb. 08) that 23 countries across the world were experiencing cholera outbreaks, with a further 20 countries that share land borders with them at risk.

"In total, more than one billion people around the world are directly at risk of cholera," he warned.

Cholera, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is contracted from a bacterium that is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water.

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