In the 13 weeks since the second wave of Yemen’s cholera outbreak began, 362,545 suspected cholera cases and 1,817 deaths have been reported, the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday, July 19.
The UN agency says that it has received only $10.2 million of the $64 million it has requested to deal with the disease.
WHO says that surveillance has confirmed a decline in suspected cases over the past two weeks in some of the worst-affected governorates, including Sana’a, but urged caution because of a backlog in analysing suspected cases.
The nationwide case fatality ratio has reduced to 0.5 percent, meaning that now only 1 in 200 people suspected to have contracted the bacterial disease who access health services will die.
However, WHO says thousands of people are still falling sick every day. Yemen’s rainy season has just started and it is feared that this may lead to an increase in transmission.
The latest outbreak, which began on April 27, can be traced to one in October that spiked at the end of 2016 and dissipated but never fully went away.
A vaccination campaign planned for July was postponed in favour of a larger preventive campaign in 2018.
Cholera has been reported 292 out of 333 districts in 21 out of Yemen’s 23 governorates. The five worst-affected governorates – Amanat Al Asimah, Al Hudaydah, Hajjah, Amran and Ibb – accounted for 53.7 percent of cases reported since April 27.
Four governorates reported attack rates of more than 20 cases per 1,000 inhabitants, the worst of which was Al Dhaele’e with 26.6 per 1,000.
Cholera is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. It is contracted through faecally contaminated food or water
In its most severe form, it is chacterised by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhoea
Around 75% of people infected will have no or mild symptoms but, in severe cases, the disease can rapidly lead to severe dehydration and death if left untreated.
Up to 80% of patients can be treated simply and cheaply through the administration of oral rehydration salts
Antibiotics can reduce the volume of diarrhoea, reduce the volume of rehydration fluids needed, and shorten the duration of illness. The World Health Organisation WHO recommends antibiotics only in cases of severe dehydration.
Safe water, proper sanitation, and food safety are critical for preventing cholera