Connect with us

World

Worst cholera outbreak in decades kills 750 people in Malawi

News Agencies

Published

on

Worst cholera outbreak in decades kills 750 people in Malawi

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — The worst cholera outbreak to affect Malawi in two decades has now claimed 750 lives, a government minister said, while the World Health Organization chief described the southeast African country as among the hardest-hit amid ongoing global epidemics that are “more widespread and deadly than normal.”

Malawi’s Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda on Thursday ordered the closure of many businesses that lack safe water, toilets and hygienic refuse disposal facilities, and announced restrictions on the sale of pre-cooked food.

“We continue to record rising number of cases across the country, despite signs of reduced transmission and deaths in a few areas,” Chiponda said in a statement, and urged adherence to sanitation and hygiene measures.

On Wednesday, Chiponda said 17 people had died from 589 new cases of the waterborne disease “in the past 24 hours.” She said the country has recorded 22,759 cases since the onset of the outbreak in March last year.

Advertisement

Figures show that about 15 people have been dying daily in recent days, with 155 deaths recorded in the past 10 days. Nearly 1,000 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.

This week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 31 countries have reported cholera outbreaks since December, a 50% increase over previous years.

“While we have had large cholera outbreaks before, we have not seen such a large number of simultaneous outbreaks,” Tedros said, adding that Malawi, along with Haiti and Syria, are among the worst-affected countries.

Advertisement

Last year, the WHO and its partners switched to a single dose of the standard cholera vaccine instead of the usual two doses, due to supply problems.

“Production is currently at maximum capacity, and despite this unprecedented decision, the stockpile remains very low,” Tedros said, adding that four more countries have asked for vaccines in the past few weeks.

The WHO has previously blamed the unprecedented global surge in cholera on complex humanitarian crises in countries with fragile health systems that are being aggravated by climate change. Warmer temperatures and increased rains make it easier for the bacteria that cause cholera to multiply and spread.

Advertisement

Africa CDC director Ahmed Ogwell Ouma told reporters during a weekly online briefing on Thursday that 14 African countries are reporting cholera cases, many of which are due to flooding across the continent. A significant proportion of the continent’s 1.3 billion people lack access to safe water, sanitation and good hygiene.

Ouma said 393 deaths from slightly more than 4,000 new cases were reported during the past week in Africa, where Malawi is the outbreak’s epicenter.

Advertisement

The country of about 20 million people recorded 71% of cases and 88% of deaths in the past week, said Ouma.

In the capital, Lilongwe, some people blamed lack of basic services such as safe water and sanitation for the outbreak.

“I was eating and drinking in the markets without washing my hands. I was not cautious, but also there is no water in these places” said 24-year-old Kondwani Malizani, a motor mechanic from the crowded Ngwenya Township in Lilongwe. He said he was hospitalized with cholera last week.

Advertisement

Lilongwe and Blantyre city, an economic hub in the south of the country, are most affected. Many public places such as busy markets have no tap water, while people are forced to dig wells at home or draw water from unsafe sources such as rivers and streams — factors that contribute to cholera outbreaks.

Epidemiologist Adamson Muula told the AP that the outbreak is affecting “the very poor” who lack access to safe water and sanitation.

“People who have functioning water closets, potable water from taps in homes and those who fortify themselves by not eating from questionable places are basically not at risk,” said Muula, a lecturer at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Blantyre. He blamed ruling elites for failing to invest in infrastructure.

Advertisement

“People who are not served by the municipal water supply system. People who defecate in bushes and other open spaces, drink from open water sources and those who live in communities where the different water companies can fail to provide tap water for days on end are the ones affected,” said Muula. “Such a disease becomes difficult to control as the bourgeois feel unconcerned.”

Health minister Chiponda on Thursday announced a ban on selling precooked foods along streets, in local markets, bus depots and school yards. She also ordered the closure of all marketing, transport and travel, sporting, religious and entertainment facilities that lack safe water, functional toilets and “organized and hygienic” refuse disposal facilities.

She also said the government plans to expand the water pipe network as well as to deliver water using trucks to people living in slums in Lilongwe and Blantyre. Schools in the two areas whose opening was delayed in early January are set to reopen on Jan. 17. This is after the government pledged to provide safe drinking water and reconnect piped water that had been discontinued at some schools in Lilongwe and Blantyre, Chiponda said.

Advertisement

The country this week pleaded for donations of cholera beds, tents, water buckets, rehydration salts, medical supplies and cash.

In November, the WHO and partners sent Malawi nearly 3 million cholera vaccines. Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease spread via contaminated water and food which can cause severe dehydration. It is a bacterial disease that affects both children and adults. If left untreated, up to 30% of cholera cases can be fatal and in extreme cases, the disease can kill within hours.

——-

Advertisement

Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe contributed to this report.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Breaking News

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

Frozen 3, Toy Story 5, and More Announced by Disney Frozen 3, Toy Story 5, and More Announced by Disney
Entertainment11 hours ago

Frozen 3, Toy Story 5, and More Announced by Disney

During today’s Disney Q1 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that sequels to Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, and...

Chrissy Teigen doesn't 'know how to go on' after her infamous Trump takedown tweet is read at House hearing Chrissy Teigen doesn't 'know how to go on' after her infamous Trump takedown tweet is read at House hearing
Entertainment11 hours ago

Chrissy Teigen doesn’t ‘know how to go on’ after her infamous Trump takedown tweet is read at House hearing

Chrissy Teigen reacts to her uncensored Trump tweet being read during the House Oversight Committee’s Twitter hearing. (Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty...

Perry Mason is a proud nobody in the new trailer for season two Perry Mason is a proud nobody in the new trailer for season two
Entertainment12 hours ago

Perry Mason is a proud nobody in the new trailer for season two

Matthew Rhys Matthew Rhys’ drunken, dour, and very good public defender is back for another round. Perry Mason’s second season...

Ben Stiller's big acting comeback: Starring as 'ridiculously good looking' Zoolander for Pepsi Super Bowl commercial Ben Stiller's big acting comeback: Starring as 'ridiculously good looking' Zoolander for Pepsi Super Bowl commercial
Entertainment13 hours ago

Ben Stiller’s big acting comeback: Starring as ‘ridiculously good looking’ Zoolander for Pepsi Super Bowl commercial

Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in Pepsi Zero Sugar ad Ben Stiller is finally acting again… though his comeback vehicle...

'Mean Girls' standout Rajiv Surendra on the role that made him leave Hollywood: 'I felt dead inside for a long time' 'Mean Girls' standout Rajiv Surendra on the role that made him leave Hollywood: 'I felt dead inside for a long time'
Entertainment13 hours ago

‘Mean Girls’ standout Rajiv Surendra on the role that made him leave Hollywood: ‘I felt dead inside for a long time’

Rajiv Surendra as the scene-stealer Kevin G. in Mean Girls. (Photo: CBS via Getty Images) Despite actor Rajiv Surendra’s scene-stealing...

Elizabeth Chambers says marriage to Armie Hammer imploded during COVID lockdown: 'He was the worst' Elizabeth Chambers says marriage to Armie Hammer imploded during COVID lockdown: 'He was the worst'
Entertainment14 hours ago

Elizabeth Chambers says marriage to Armie Hammer imploded during COVID lockdown: ‘He was the worst’

Elizabeth Chambers gets candid about her divorce from Armie Hammer. (Photo: JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images) Elizabeth Chambers is finally...

Missy Elliott on the giant Super Bowl XLIX prop the NFL nixed, inviting aliens to her own halftime show and why her Rock Hall nom is so important Missy Elliott on the giant Super Bowl XLIX prop the NFL nixed, inviting aliens to her own halftime show and why her Rock Hall nom is so important
Entertainment14 hours ago

Missy Elliott on the giant Super Bowl XLIX prop the NFL nixed, inviting aliens to her own halftime show and why her Rock Hall nom is so important

Missy Elliott performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic) Missy Elliott has had quite...

Owen Wilson is giving big Bob Ross energy but can't brush the pain away in new 'Paint' teaser trailer Owen Wilson is giving big Bob Ross energy but can't brush the pain away in new 'Paint' teaser trailer
Entertainment14 hours ago

Owen Wilson is giving big Bob Ross energy but can’t brush the pain away in new ‘Paint’ teaser trailer

There aren’t enough happy little trees in the world to mend Owen Wilson‘s broken heart in the new teaser trailer...

Advertisement

Latest Sports

NBA Rumors: Celtics exploring Payton Pritchard, Danilo Gallinari trade NBA Rumors: Celtics exploring Payton Pritchard, Danilo Gallinari trade
Sports30 mins ago

NBA Rumors: Celtics exploring Payton Pritchard, Danilo Gallinari trade

With the NBA trade deadline fewer than 24 hours away, the Boston Celtics reportedly are exploring a potential package of...

How Chad Henne has impacted the Chiefs juggernaut despite barely ever playing How Chad Henne has impacted the Chiefs juggernaut despite barely ever playing
Sports60 mins ago

How Chad Henne has impacted the Chiefs juggernaut despite barely ever playing

Think Patrick Mahomes just entered the NFL having mastered the habits that could unlock his supernova potential? Guess again.

Inside Donte DiVincenzo's unique perspective before NBA trade deadline Inside Donte DiVincenzo's unique perspective before NBA trade deadline
Sports1 hour ago

Inside Donte DiVincenzo’s unique perspective before NBA trade deadline

Donte DiVincenzo spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area about the business of being traded, and his message to his Warriors...

Commanders haven’t decided whether or not to pick up Chase Young’s fifth-year option Commanders haven’t decided whether or not to pick up Chase Young’s fifth-year option
Sports2 hours ago

Commanders haven’t decided whether or not to pick up Chase Young’s fifth-year option

Commanders defensive end Chase Young returned from his torn ACL to play the last three games of the 2022 season....

Sources: KD traded to Suns in blockbuster move Sources: KD traded to Suns in blockbuster move
Sports2 hours ago

Sources: KD traded to Suns in blockbuster move

What once was a big 3 in Brooklyn officially no longer exists as Suns pull off a massive trade with...

How Kyrie Irving fared in Mavericks debut vs How Kyrie Irving fared in Mavericks debut vs
Sports3 hours ago

How Kyrie Irving fared in Mavericks debut vs. Clippers

Days after being traded by the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving debuted for the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Los Angeles Clippers...

WVU defeats Iowa State 76-71 to win four of last five WVU defeats Iowa State 76-71 to win four of last five
Sports3 hours ago

WVU defeats Iowa State 76-71 to win four of last five

Erik Stevenson got moving early, scoring the first four points for WVU. The Mountaineer defense looked great to start as...

Aces reportedly under investigation for Mark Davis' latest attempt to circumvent CBA in support of players Aces reportedly under investigation for Mark Davis' latest attempt to circumvent CBA in support of players
Sports4 hours ago

Aces reportedly under investigation for Mark Davis’ latest attempt to circumvent CBA in support of players

The Aces were reportedly setting up potential players with money from companies for "negligible" work in return. Other owners and...

Technology Hot News

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" . Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .
Technology3 weeks ago

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .. the technology giants are planning to lay off 64,000 employees

After 10 years of driving the stock market bull run, big tech companies are racing to downsize staff to adapt...

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors
Technology3 weeks ago

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors

Yesterday, Tuesday, Apple unveiled MacBooks powered by the new, faster “M2 Pro” and “M2 Max” processor chips, in a surprise...

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung
Technology3 weeks ago

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung

Samsung has officially announced that the (Galaxy Unpacked 2023) event will be held this year on Wednesday, February 1, which...

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency
Technology3 weeks ago

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency

Bankrupt American cryptocurrency firm FTX announced today, Wednesday, that $415 million in cryptocurrency has been hacked and stolen from the...

Because of a "fraudulent tweet".. Because of a "fraudulent tweet"..
Technology3 weeks ago

Because of a "fraudulent tweet"… Elon Musk's trial begins

Elon Musk's trial began Tuesday in San Francisco with the selection of jury members who will have to decide whether...

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions
Technology3 weeks ago

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions

Experts have developed an electric spoon that is able to replace spices and flavors and affect the taste buds in...

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices. The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.
Technology4 weeks ago

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.. so you can escape?

If you spot an unknown Bluetooth tagging device, there are ways to disable the device so it can't track your...

New Twitter. New Twitter.
Technology4 weeks ago

New Twitter.. For You tab to web version

The Twitter platform announced that it will bring the new tab (For You), which launched last Tuesday for iPhones and...

Advertisement