Cholera: WHO Announces Over 1,900 Deaths, 195,000 Cases Globally - The Top Society

Cholera: WHO Announces Over 1,900 Deaths, 195,000 Cases Globally

ADEWALE AJAYI
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed a cumulative death of 194, 897 deaths and 1,932 cases globally as a result of a cholera outbreak.
A statement by the health organisation’s Eastern Mediterranean Region said the outbreaks were recorded from the 1st of  January, 2024 to the 26th of  May, 2024.
The cases were reported from 24 countries across five WHO regions with the Eastern Mediterranean Region recording the highest numbers followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the South-East Asia Region, and the European Region.
No outbreaks were reported in the Western Pacific Region during this time.
“The global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) was depleted until early March but exceeded the emergency target of 5 million doses in early June for the first time in 2024. As of 10 June 2024, the stockpile has 6.2 million doses. However, demand for the vaccine continues to outpace supply. Since January 2023, 92 million OCV doses were requested by 16 countries, nearly double the 49 million doses produced during this period,” it said.
By March, the UN health agency said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV). Still, it was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024”.
WHO reported that 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV since January last year – almost double the 49 million produced during that time.
It said it was working with other partners such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others to use resources to find long-term solutions for cholera.
WHO classified the global resurgence of cholera as a grade three emergency in January 2023 the highest internal level for emergencies in WHO. Based on the number of outbreaks and their geographic expansion, alongside the shortage of vaccines and other resources, WHO said it continues to assess the risk at the global level, as very high and the event remains classified as a grade three emergency.
“After decades of progress against cholera, cases are again on the rise, even in countries that have not seen the disease in years,” the agency said.
Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that spreads through food and water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, often from faeces. With safe water and sanitation, cholera can be prevented. Although it can kill within hours when not treated, however, immediate access to treatment saves lives.
While the triggers for cholera outbreaks—like poverty and conflict—are enduring, climate change and conflict are now compounding the problem. Extreme climate events like floods, cyclones and droughts, reduce access to clean water and create an ideal environment for cholera to thrive, WHO said.
In 2022, 44 countries reported cholera cases, a 25 per cent increase from the 35 countries that reported cases in 2021. The trend continued into 2023.
“The recent outbreaks have also been more deadly, with case fatality rates being the highest recorded in over a decade.
“This increase in outbreaks and cases is stretching the global capacity to respond. There is a shortage of cholera tools, including vaccines,’ the statement added.
WHO said it considered the current global risk from cholera as very high and is responding with urgency to reduce deaths and contain outbreaks in countries around the world.
In Nigeria, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, said that the number of recorded fatalities as a result of the outbreak has risen to 21 following the last update which reported 350 suspected cases and 15 fatalities.
In the same vein, the Ogun State Government confirmed the outbreak which has claimed the life of a 62-year-old woman with five persons hospitalised.
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