WHO rises alarm over DR Congo cholera epidemic

AFP news agency

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday sounded the alarm over a cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has already claimed 528 lives and reached “worrying proportions”.

The UN says cholera is a major public health problem in the country with millions of cases registered every year. Last year, the disease claimed 817 lives there, according to the WHO.

“The cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reached worrying proportions with 20 out of 26 provinces affected by the disease” the UN agency said in a statement.

Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhoea, with children facing a particularly high risk of infection.

There are between 1.4 and 4.3 million cases of the disease worldwide each year, and as many as 142,000 deaths, according to WHO statistics.