Maputo — A cholera outbreak in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has spread to Montepuez district, so far claiming one life out of 11 confirmed cases that have checked into the local Cholera Treatment Centre, according to a report in Wednesday's issue of independent daily "O Pais".
The latest records have led the provincial authorities to declare a cholera outbreak in Montepuez. There were already five districts grappling with the disease, namely Mocimboa da Praia, Macomia, Ibo, Metuge and the provincial capital, Pemba.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Cabo Delgado, Armindo Ngunga, confirmed the Montepuez outbreak, after the health authorities had confirmed more than 200 cases of acute diarrhoeas.
"Laboratory surveillance to determine the root causes for diarrhoea enabled us to confirm one positive case of cholera in 20 December. On 2 January, a second positive case was confirmed, thus meeting the conditions for declaring an outbreak in Montepuez," Ngunga said.
The provincial government, Ngunga added, is profoundly concerned with the spread of the disease to Montepuez.
"From January 2020 until last night, 2,125 cases have been confirmed across the province with 37 deaths. The lethality rate is 1.7 per cent," Ngunga said.
The cholera outbreak was first reported from Ibo Island and swiftly spread to Pemba and to Metuge district. A few weeks later, the disease was reported in Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia. But these are among the districts worst hit by islamist terrorism, and so there is no accurate data available about the outbreak. To make matters even worse, the residents have no access to health care because the attacks have closed down most health units in these districts.
The increase in the number of cases and the rapid spread have occurred despite the mass immunisation drives undertaken earlier in 2020. It is estimated that over 10,000 people received two doses of the cholera vaccine, which, according to the Ministry of Health, provides immunity for about two years.