Cholera death toll soars to 37 in Somalia since 2024

MOGADISHU, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Some 37 people have died due to the outbreak of cholera in Somalia since January, indicating the severity of the outbreak, the country's health ministry said Monday.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services said there has been a significant rise in cholera cases, with a total of 3,365 new cases reported, including 1,996 cases, or 59 percent of the total cases being classified as severe, indicating the gravity of the illness.

"Since January 2024, several districts in Somalia have been significantly affected by the cholera outbreak. The district with the highest number of reported cases is Beledweyne, accounting for 604 cases (18 percent of total cases)," the ministry said in its latest epidemiological report released in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

The ministry attributed the ongoing cholera outbreak in Somalia to a growing number of people who lack access to safe water and proper sanitation.

Additionally, the country has experienced El Nino floods, which have affected over 2.5 million people, leading to the displacement of 1.2 million individuals from their homes and causing 118 deaths, according to the UN.

"Of the reported cases, 1,689 or 50 percent were female, highlighting the vulnerability of women to cholera infection," the ministry said.

Additionally, it said, 2,020 cases, or 60 percent were children under five years of age, underscoring the heightened risk faced by this age group.

Somalia has had uninterrupted AWD/cholera transmission since 2022 and in the Banadir region since the drought of 2017, according to the World Health Organization.

In 2023, more than 18,304 cumulative cases and 46 deaths were reported in Somalia, including over 10,000 children aged below five years (55 percent), it said.

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