Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities have declared a cholera outbreak in three districts in the northern province of Cabo Delgado - namely Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia and Ibo.
According to a report in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", so far there have been 20 confirmed deaths from cholera, 12 of which took place in health units.
The provincial director of health, Anastacia Lidimba, said the outbreak began on islands off the Cabo Delgado coast, where many people have taken refuge in unsanitary conditions, fleeing from the murderous attacks by islamist insurgents on the mainland. She said the situation was particularly critical on Matemo and Congo islands, in Ibo and Mocimboa da Praia districts respectively.
Lidimba said that in the affected districts cholera treatment centres have been established, which have received teams of health professionals and the necessary medicines to cope with the disease.
When fears of cholera began circulating in late January, health officials believed the patients concerned were only suffering from acute diarrhoea. But laboratory analysis showed the presence of the micro-organism responsible for cholera.
So far, 273 cases of cholera have been diagnosed, the director said. Ibo is the worst affected district, with 13 known cholera deaths.
At the start of the outbreak, an average of eight patients a day were entering the health units, but Lidimba said that, thanks to the work of the treatment centres, this has now fallen to two or three a day.
"Right now we have nobody undergoing treatment in Ibo, five patients in Macomia and ten patients in Mocimboa da Praia", she said.