August 9, 2006

Five dead after cholera outbreak in Zanzibar, 106 in hospital

At least seven children died and 106 people, most of them children, have been hospitalised due to a cholera outbreak in Tanzania's semiautonomous island of Zanzibar, Omar Suleiman, the director of information policy in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, has said. He attributed the latest cholera outbreak to the public's reluctance to observe hygiene, including the proper use of toilets. "We call upon the public to observe health precautions by boiling drinking water and making use of toilets," Suleiman said. "Unfortunately in a village of about 371 homes, only nine houses have toilets." An indefinite quarantine has been imposed on several villages in the north of Zanzibar, he said. He added that the sale of fresh food had now been prohibited in the north of Zanzibar.
Before, health officials on the island had reported that at least 454 children had been treated for severe dysentery and diarrhoea at the Mnazi-Mmoja Hospital where cockroaches have become a menace to patients. According to the state television, hundreds of cockroaches have invaded the hospital wards; this has been attributed to the poor cleaning of the hospital. Cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks had already started in March, with a resurgence in late May and June, before erupting again in July in most areas of the Zanzibar Municipality and Pemba Island. (ReliefWeb, Switzerland)

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