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  • Medical staff wear protective masks at a cholera treatment center.

    Medical staff wear protective masks at a cholera treatment center. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 March 2019

Cholera cases have jumped to 139 infected in Mozambique, following a devastating cyclone.

Authorities and health workers are working overtime following a cholera outbreak in Mozambique. The disease is spreading through contaminated food and water. It poses an accute threat for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors, which find themselves cramped up in camps with little to no infrastructure. 

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Health organizations are transporting almost one million vaccines to the affected area. The disease can kill within hours if not properly treated. While there have been no confirmed deaths as of now, the disease is expected to spread fast. Doctors Without Borders told the Associated Press in an interview that the organization is recording up to 200 new cases a day. The disease also poses a threat for Zimbabwe and Malawi, which have also been hit by Cyclone Idai, although there have been no confirmed cases yet. 

Cholera can be hard to control if not treated quickly. However, following a proper treatment the death rate can be decreased from 50 percent to less than one percent in all victims. 

Cyclone Idai had terrible affects on Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people lost their homes. The port city of Beira, Mozambique was hit the worst. Expert estimated that the city with a population of 400,000 was destroyed by 90 percent. So far, the offical death toll in Mozambique is 468; in Zimbabwe it is 259 deaths; in Malawi 56. The number of victims can still increase within the next couple of days. 

The United Nations World Food Programme has classified the situation in Mozambqiue as the highest-level of emergency. The country was already hit by a severe food shortage affecting an estimated 1.78 million people. A severe problem that is expected to become much worse due to the storm. 

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