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World Health Organization announces global resurgence of cholera cases in 2024
Cholera
Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Jospin Benekire

World Health Organization announces global resurgence of cholera cases in 2024

| @indiablooms | 21 Jun 2024, 05:50 pm

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a spike in cholera in several regions of the world, with almost 195,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths reported in 24 countries since the start of this year.

The agency’s Eastern Mediterranean Region reported the highest number of cases, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Southeast Asia Region, and the European Region.

There were no reported cases in the Western Pacific Region, it said in a bulletin issued on Wednesday.

Vaccines and resurgence

The UN health agency said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) by March but was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024.”

Yet, the supply of the vaccine does not equate to its demand.

WHO reported that since January last year, 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV – almost double the 49 million produced during that time.

WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners are working together to use resources to find long-term solutions for cholera.

Sleeping sickness eliminated in Chad

On the positive side of health news, WHO announced on Thursday that Chad successfully eradicated “sleeping sickness” as a public health problem.

The agency applauded the Government and people of Chad for eradicating the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis, (also known as sleeping sickness).

“I congratulate the government and the people of Chad for this achievement. It is great to see Chad join the growing group of countries that have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD),” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Target within reach

In eliminating the disease, Chad joining some 50 others globally that have succeeded in this endeavour. 

“The 100-country target is nearer and within reach,” Tedros added, referring to the target set out in the road map for address neglected tropical diseases by 2030.

Sleeping sickness can cause flu-like symptoms initially but eventually causing behaviour change, confusion, sleep cycle disturbances or even coma, often leading to death.

Improved access to early diagnosis and treatment, as well as surveillance and response has proven that countries can control and eventually eliminate transmission.

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