Somalia: 145 Cases of Suspected Cholera Reported

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Hand washing. Hygiene. Cholera. Tap water.

The Ministry of Health of Somalia has announced 145 new suspected cases of cholera, with one death reported, for epidemiological week 2 (6-12 January 2020). The cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases since the beginning of this outbreak is 10 113, including 51 associated deaths. So far in 2020, active transmission has been reported from Banadir and Lower Shebelle regions. Of the 145 cases reported during this week, 79% of the cases (114) are children under 5 years of age.

The current cholera outbreak started in December 2017 following floods that affected districts in the basins of Jubba and Shabelle rivers. It was contained in five of the six region. Active transmission is still reported in Banadir where the most affected districts are Darkenley, Deynile, Hodan and Madina. This week Lower Shebelle reported 35 cases with no deaths. There has been an increase in the number of cholera cases reported over the past two weeks. The overall reduction in the number of new cholera cases as compared to the numbers at the beginning of the outbreak is attributed to improved implementation of preventive interventions including oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaigns and the strengthening of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) activities in hot spots.

Of the 1055 stool samples tested since December 2017, a total of 259 samples came out positive for Vibrio cholerae. No stool samples have tested positive through rapid diagnostic tests during week 2 of 2020.

In June 2019, WHO and the Ministry of Health implemented an OCV campaign in six districts that are at high risk of cholera, namely Hamajajab, Heliwa and Kahda districts in Banadir region; Afgoye district in Lower Shabelle region; Balad district in Middle Shabelle region; and Kismayo in Lower Jubba region. A total of 621 875 individuals aged one year and older received the first dose of the cholera vaccine (96.7% of the targeted population).

WHO continues to provide leadership and support to health authorities and partners in implementing activities that can mitigate the outbreak. Disease surveillance is being managed with the support of WHO through an electronic system known as the Early Warning Alert and Response Network (EWARN) and is currently being expanded to all health facilities across the country. WHO and the Ministry of Health continue to monitor outbreak trends through EWARN and promptly investigate and respond to all alerts.

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