An outbreak of cholera in Guinea has killed 82 people since February and is showing no signs of letting up, the country's health ministry said Saturday. "A week ago we counted 60 dead and 2,054 cases ... this week we have recorded 82 dead,"
Dr Sakoba Keita of the ministry's infectious diseases department told a press conference, adding that the situation was "alarming". Coastal Basse-Guinee, particularly Forecariah in the south-west where the epidemic started in February, was the worst affected with 25 dead, followed by the capital Conakry with 17, officials said. "In spite of the authorities' and
international organisation's awareness campaign at all levels the cholera epidemic continues to rage in Guinea," said Keita.
Neighbouring Sierra Leone's government on Thursday said a cholera outbreak in the country was a national emergency after 176 deaths and 10,800 reported cases since January. Mali and Niger have also been hard hit, with high levels of malnourishment as a result of a drought exacerbating the problem.
Poor water and sanitation systems give rise to the disease, an acute intestinal infection caused by ingesting contaminated food and water which causes acute diarrhoea and vomiting and can kill in hours, according to the World Health Organisation.