News24

Burundi cholera - 7 dead

2011-08-22 21:11

Bujumbura - A cholera outbreak has killed at least seven people in western Burundi, where it has infected more than 400 people in the past three weeks, the health ministry said on Monday.

Authorities are treating as an epidemic the outbreak affecting an area stretching from Cibitoke, about 45km north of Bujumbura, to Rumonge, 80km south of the Burundian capital.

Public health director general Dr Liboire Ngirigi gave the latest toll during a press conference on Monday.

The number of victims had previously been put at four.

"Today we're mobilised to get rid of this disease and to that end, the health ministry has since Friday declared the status of an epidemic, which will mean free medical care for all those who are sick," Terence Bwarikindi, the deputy head of emergency services in the health ministry, told AFP earlier on Monday.

Cholera has spread in rural areas and working-class districts "where there are practically no latrines and where there is no running water", he added.

The highly contagious intestinal infection is transmitted by water soiled by human waste. The disease leads to diarrhoea, dehydration and death if untreated.