Emergencies preparedness, response

1998 - Cholera in the Comoros Islands - Update

20 February 1998

Disease Outbreak Reported

As of 16 February, 282 cases with 10 deaths (case fatality rate 3.5%) have been reported, mainly in Moroni (the capital city) and surrounding villages and Mbéni 40 km north of Moroni. Vibrio cholerae O1, El Tor has been confirmed by the national laboratory in Moroni and Institut Pasteur, Paris. Testing for antibiotic susceptibility showed the isolates to be sensitive to doxycycline and tetracycline and resistant to bactrim and choloramphenicol.

WHO has been involved with the national authorities in controlling the outbreak since it was notified on 19 January. A national cholera committee has been established with personnel from the Ministry of Health, other UN agencies and NGOs meeting daily in the WHO office. Activities are directed at improving case management in the national hospital, training of health staff and education of the general public, ensuring safe water, supplies of oral rehydration salts, chlorine and other material. Mobile teams have been employed to provide health education, disseminate information and to disinfect and chlorinate water sources. Teams have visited affected areas to assess the situation and neighbouring islands to initiate outbreak preparedness. A plan for preparedness and control for the coming six months is currently being considered by the national authorities.