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New alarm as cholera epidemic reaches 60,000

The World Health Organization said Friday that Zimbabwe's cholera cases now exceed 60,000, once again sounding the alarm for an epidemic expected to worsen with the rainy season. More than 3,000 have died from the disease so far.

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AFP -  The number of people infected by Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic has exceeded 60,000, the latest data from the World Health Organisation agency showed Friday.

The death toll in the outbreak since August 2008 reached 3,161, out of 60,401 recorded cases according to the WHO's daily update dated January 29.

On Tuesday, when more than 56,000 people were reported infected, a WHO spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, told AFP: "The situation of cholera is not under control, it's even out of control, and it will remain so for the near future."

Impoverished Zimbabwe's rainy season is expected to help nurture the waterborne disease, which is already thriving on the country's poor sanitation and broken water systems, according to health officials.

The UN's health agency estimates that about half of Zimbabwe's population of about 12 million are at risk from cholera because of poor living conditions.

Another fear has been the growing proportion of people falling ill and dying out of reach of health care in rural areas.

The WHO said it would give more details on the state of the outbreak later on Friday.

 

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