Angola reports 41,475 cholera cases and 1576 deaths

As of 31 May 2006, Angola has reported a total of 41,475 cholera cases and 1576 deaths (overall case fatality rate (CFR) 3.8%).

Thirteen out of 18 provinces are affected; of all cases, 51% have occurred in Luanda and 19% in Benguela province. The CFR, broken down by province, ranges between 1 and 30%. Although current trends show a decline in most provinces, a daily incidence of around 250-300 cases is still being reported. (see epicurve below for weekly incidence)

According to the cumulative attack rate (number of cases/per inhabitants x 100), the most affected provinces are Kwanza Norte (0.94%), Bengo (0.92%), Malange (0.78%), Luanda (0.44%) and Benguela (0.27%).

WHO continues to work with the Ministry of Health and other partners to provide support in coordination, water and sanitation and intensified surveillance.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe. Approximately one in 20 infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

A person may get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the feces of an infected person. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.

The cholera bacterium may also live in the environment in brackish rivers and coastal waters. Shellfish eaten raw have been a source of cholera, and a few persons in the United States have contracted cholera after eating raw or undercooked shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico. The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill.

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