BURUNDI – Burundian Public Health and AIDS Control has declared an outbreak of cholera in the east African country’s commercial capital Bujumbura.

“Nine suspected cholera cases were identified on Dec. 30, 2022 in the northern health district in the commercial capital Bujumbura with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting, mainly in Bukirasazi neighborhood in Kinama zone,” said Minister Sylvie Nzeyimana in the statement.

“The next day, two other suspected cases were identified in Mutakura neighborhood, close to Bukirasazi.”

According to her, another suspected case was notified in Buyenzi, near the Bujumbura city center and the latter had been in contact with one of the suspected cases located in the north of Bujumbura.

“Results of the National Public Health Institute (INSP) issued on Dec. 31, 2022 have confirmed that it was cholera. Today, we take this opportunity to announce that five cholera patients are hospitalized at Prince Regent Charles Hospital while seven others have already been discharged from hospital,” said Nzeyimana.

Nzeyimana said that some preventive measures have already been taken. According to her, they include disinfecting infected households, sensitizing the community on the risks of the epidemic propagation and behavior to be adopted, and the search for other cholera cases in the community.

The cholera outbreak happens at a time when heavy rains hit several parts of Bujumbura and its surroundings from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31, causing overflows of toilets.

The Burundian health ministry has also banned the sale of cooked and raw food products on the streets in Bujumbura following the disease outbreak.

Malawi suspends school opening over deadly cholera outbreak

The authorities in Malawi have suspended primary and secondary schools opening in two major cities following a cholera outbreak that has so far killed 595 people.

Schools in the capital, Lilongwe, and the commercial hub, Blantyre, will remain closed for at least two more weeks after the Christmas holidays.

The cholera outbreak began in March 2022 but has become acute lately.Nineteen people died on New Year’s Eve alone. The outbreak has spread to nearly all of Malawi’s 28 districts.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control says it is concerned about the rise in cholera deaths in Malawi,

Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said that school reopening will be delayed for at least two weeks, but further advice would be given.

Cholera is contracted by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It can affect children and adults, causing severe diarrhoea, and can kill within hours if left untreated.

Health authorities say that the onset of the rainy season could worsen the situation as flood waters mixed with waste pollute water sources. A lack of proper drainage in both cities is also a factor.

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