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Southern Africa’s Cholera Outbreak is a Multinational Fight

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A cholera crisis has engulfed southern Africa. As cases surge across Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a lack of clean water and sanitation continue to threaten lives.

[Image source: Adobe Stock]


An acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria, people can get sick with cholera after consuming contaminated food or water. Affecting areas with inadequate access to safe water and basic sanitation, cholera is essentially a disease of poverty and can kill within hours if left untreated. Estimates suggest there are between 1.3 and 4.0 million cholera cases worldwide each year, and 21,000 to 143,000 deaths.

The latest outbreak is particularly severe in Zimbabwe, where there has already been over 22,000 cases and 450 deaths. In its attempt to limit the spread of the disease the country’s government has banned large gatherings, increased surveillance at ports of entry, and advised people against shaking hands. Water shortages and poor sanitation systems are commonplace in Zimbabwe, a situation which is inevitably fueling the problem.

To learn how our international Movement of Life project is working to bring health and hope to people in Zimbabwe, see this video on our website.

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