- Title: IRAQ: Northern Iraqi province of Sulaimaniya hit by major cholera outbreak
- Date: 31st August 2007
- Summary: MEN EATING INSIDE FAST FOOD RESTAURANT MAN WASHING TEA CUPS WITH HOT WATER MEN DRINKING TEA IN COFFEE SHOP MAN DRINKING WATER FROM BOTTLE YOGHURTS ON DISPLAY YOGHURT BEING PREPARED RESTAURANT EXTERIOR FALAFEL BEING COOKED
- Embargoed: 15th September 2007 13:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVA98K63O1MPQZK6FM1G4YNMQFFU
- Story Text: Iraqi health officials warn of 'catastrophe' if Sulaimaniya's cholera outbreak is not contained in time.
Health officials tackling an outbreak of cholera in Iraq's northern Sulaimaniya province have tracked the source of the infection to a water treatment plant, a regional health minister said on Thursday (August 30).
Zairyan Othman, health minister for Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, has warned of a catastrophe if the outbreak is not quickly contained, saying there are nearly 4,000 suspected cases in Sulaimaniya and the neighbouring province of Kirkuk.
Othman said that samples taken from the water treatment plant showed the presence of the bacterium that causes cholera, an acute intestinal infection that is spread through contaminated food and water.
He said the plant, which serves the whole of Sulaimaniya, was to be shut for 24 hours to clean its filters. That will mean Sulaimaniya residents will see their taps run dry, but most already rely on bottled water or wells.
Othman, who also blamed the outbreak on well water that had not been properly chlorinated, said eight people had died so far from the disease -- seven in Sulaimaniya and one in Kirkuk.
The number of confirmed infections in Sulaimaniya had more than doubled, from 35 to 77, while Kirkuk had 47 confirmed infections, he said.
Four planes had arrived from Baghdad carrying emergency medical supplies.
"During the last fifteen days, there is an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting in the Sulaimaniya city, Kurdistan region in Iraq. And during this period we faced many patients with the diarrhoea, vomiting, some of them suffering from severe dehydration and about five percent of the patients were suffering from the renal failure and some of them were sent for the dialysis and for the further management. About nine cases of these patients died,"
Omeed, a resident doctor at the Sulaimaniya hospital told Reuters.
In Geneva, Claire Lisa Chaignat, head of the WHO's (World Health Organisation) task force on cholera control, said the organisation was aware of 35 laboratory-confirmed cases in Kirkuk and an unknown number of cases in Sulaimaniya.
Chaignat said poor surveillance data meant there was no accurate count of the number of people affected, though local health officials were working to improve this.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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