KABUL: The United Nations said yesterday it was airlifting and driving medical supplies to remote mountain villages in north-eastern Afghanistan as a whooping cough epidemic spread and threatened the lives of 40,000 children.
WHO has estimated that over 60 children died after an outbreak of whooping cough in seven villages in the Badakhshan province in October, but it could only confirm 17 deaths in the barely accessible region.
The Afghan government put the death toll at over 100 people.
The UN said the outbreak appeared to have spread from the district of Khwahan to neighbouring Darwaz district, and said it was aiming to give up to 80,000 people in the area a two-week course of antibiotics to protect them against the disease.
At the moment the outbreak is relatively isolated and the hope is that we can contain it and it won't spread any further if we can get antibiotics to people who are already infected, said Edward Carwardine of Unicef.
If left untreated in areas without healthcare and where people are already malnourished, the disease can kill about 15% of its victims, WHO officials say. Reuters
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