More than 180 dead from diarrhoea in Ethiopia AFP.
19 September 2006
The death toll from a diarrhoea epidemic in Ethiopia has climbed to at least 182, with nearly 20 000 others infected since the outbreak erupted in June, the United Nations said on Tuesday.The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said the disease had spread to five Ethiopian regions that were ravaged by devastating floods, which have claimed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands in the recent weeks.
While in many rich countries diarrhoea is often seen as little more than an annoyance, it can be deadly in the developing world, particularly when combined with other illnesses and hunger.
The disease can be fatal, particularly for young children, because it causes severe dehydration.
“Last week, 1 608 acute watery diarrhoea new cases with 49 deaths were reported across the country, bringing the total case number to 19 176 with 182 deaths,” OCHA said in its weekly bulletin.
“To date, the outbreak is reported in five regions and one city administration in Addis Ababa,” it added.
The health authorities have said the Acute Watery Diarrhoea outbreak, which has swept through the southern and northern part of the country as well as a district in the capital, Addis Ababa, is not yet under control.
Lack of access to clean drinking water is a major factor in the spread of diarrhoea, as people turn to sources that are often highly contaminated by sewage.
Existing water supply and sanitation problems in Ethiopia have been compounded by some of the heaviest flooding in a generation. — Sapa-AFP