Nearly 10000 cholera cases now reported in Zimbabwe UN says

Almost 10,000 cases and over 400 deaths due to cholera have now been reported in Zimbabwe since the current outbreak of the disease began in August, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).Nearly 500 new cases and 23 additional deaths have been reported since yesterday, with the largest increase in cases found in Budiriro and Beitbridge in the country”s south.The UN continues to support the Government respond to the outbreak through water deliveries, education programmes, procurement of medical supplies and constructing latrines.OCHA noted that more health professionals are needed to respond, given the scale of the outbreak, and that poor hygiene awareness and solid waste removal are propelling the increase in cholera infections.Cases of the illness – an acute intestinal infection caused by contaminated food or water – have also been reported in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa, and the health ministries of these two countries and of Zimbabwe have been working with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) to address the spread.WHO and its partners are responding to cases and supporting treatment centres in 26 districts, and the agency has airlifted emergency supplies from its Dubai warehouse.The agency has identified several areas where there are gaps, including detection, response organization and surveillance.It is also planning to dispatch a team – comprising epidemiologists and water and sanitation specialists, among others – to investigate and respond to the outbreak.For its part, the UN Children”s Fund (UNICEF) has over 50 staff dedicated solely to tackling Zimbabwe”s cholera outbreak. The agency is working closely with authorities and along with its partners, has asked for $9 million as part of the UN Consolidated Appeal to address water and sanitation issues. 28 November 2008Almost 10,000 cases and over 400 deaths due to cholera have now been reported in Zimbabwe since the current outbreak of the disease began in August, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).