Iraq fights cholera outbreak s

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Iraq fights cholera outbreak

Iraq's health authorities announced a cholera outbreak
(https://bit.ly/3zSGm1m) after at least 13 cases were
confirmed across the country and thousands of hospital
admissions for acute diarrhoea were reported. Ten of the
confirmed cases were in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah,
one of three provinces that make up the Kurdish region,
Health Ministry spokesman Saif Al Badr said on Sunday.
Two cases were in the southern province of Al Muthanna
and the other in Kirkuk province north of Baghdad, Mr Al
Badr told the state-run Al Iraqiya television station. He said
the number of cases was expected to rise. Cholera is an virulent
disease caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with
the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease can cause severe
diarrhoea and lead to death, although most infected people do
not develop symptoms, according to the World Health
Organisation. Mr Al Badr described the outbreak as a limited
one "that we hope we can control, depending on the seriousness
in implementing preventive measures". Sabah Hawrami, the
director of the Sulaymaniyah Health Department, called a press
conference on Sunday and asked the Ministry of Health to declare
a state of emergency in the city. Mr Hawrami said about 4000 cases
of diarrhoea and vomiting were recorded in Sulaymaniyah's hospitals
over the previous six days. "Cholera is a terrible illness but can be
easily treated. We can save lives in a matter of hours," he said.
There has also been a spike in hospital admissions because of
diarrhoea in the nearby cities of Erbil and Duhok, but to a smaller
degree. No deaths have been reported. Provincial health authorities
make an initial diagnosis and send patient samples to a central
laboratory in the capital, Baghdad, for final analysis before
announcing the case as confirmed. According to the World Health
Organisation, cholera remains a threat to public health and an
indicator of inequity and lack of social development. Researchers
estimate that there are 1.3 million to 4 million cases of cholera
each year worldwide, causing between 21,000 and 143,000 deaths.
The disease can kill within hours if untreated. Severe cases require
urgent treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Iraq's
cholera outbreak follows a surge in cases of Crimean-Congo
haemorrhagic fever this year. Health officials said last week that
there have been more than 170 cases, of which 32 have been fatal,
compared with an annual average of about 20 and one or two deaths.