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Zambia says it is on verge of containing cholera outbreak

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya told reporters the number of cholera cases being recorded daily had dropped to less than a quarter compared to two weeks ago.

FILE: Doctors care for patients affected by Cholera at the Heroes stadium temporary transformed in a hospital on 15 January 2018 in Lusaka, Zambia. Picture: AFP.

LUSAKA - Zambia is close to containing a cholera outbreak that has killed 78 of the more than 3,600 people who have fallen sick since October, the government said on Tuesday.

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya told reporters the number of cholera cases being recorded daily had dropped to less than a quarter of what was being reported two weeks ago.

“We continue to record a drop from an average 164 cases daily to an average 25-30 cases per day. In the last 24 hours, we have had a total of 32 cases,” Chilufya said.

Zambia on 14 January relaxed rules, including the closure of markets and schools, imposed to curb the spread of cholera as the number of new cases being reported halved.

Cholera is a bacterial disease transmitted through food and water that causes severe diarrhoea that can lead to sometimes deadly dehydration.

Chilufya said the measures put in place to contain the outbreak were clearly working.

President Edgar Lungu last month directed the military to clean markets and unblock drains to help to fight the spread of the disease.

“The civil-military operation that has been going on has paid dividends,” Chilufya said, referring to the presidential order for the military to join the clean-up exercise.

Chilufya said by 20 January, the government had vaccinated 1.3 million people, including inmates in congested prisons, against cholera.

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