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Death from Cholera Rises in Angola

The official death toll that has been reported in Angola from a cholera outbreak has risen to 1 109, an unusually high mortality rate and it is expected to affect another 250 000 people before the disease is contained. //

Since the first report of the outbreak in mid-February in Luanda, the capital, 27700 cases of cholera have been reported.

Uige, a city 300km northeast of Luanda has also reported its first case on Wednesday. 11 of the country's 18 provinces have reported cholera to date.

While the World Health Organisation considers the cholera fatality rate of one percent as average, the fatality rate in Angola has been reported to be about four percent.

Deputy Health Minister Jose Van Dunem blamed squalid living conditions, weak public infrastructure and cultural attitudes toward cleanliness for the disease's spread.

Developing countries face a major threat from cholera as it is transmitted through contaminated water with poor hygiene, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation aggravating the situation.

The primary treatment involved in treating cholera is rehydration.

Luanda had a meeting of delegates from regional health authorities, hospitals, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations review efforts to combat cholera.

Authorities have set up emergency treatment wards at hospitals as well as ordered more stocks of water-purifying tablets.

The government is running a public awareness campaign that includes information bulletins in the national media, as well as volunteers going from door-to-door.

In addition the army, the Roman Catholic church and traditional healers are also helping to create public awareness.

Heavy equipment from construction and transport companies have been booked for a major cleaning up operation over the weekend to remove the tons of trash piled up in major cities.

The help of the local people has also been solicited and about 100,000 large trash bags have been distributed.


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