1998 - Cholera in Latin America and El Niño
31 March 1998
Disease Outbreak Reported
Many countries in the Americas are experiencing unexpected outbreaks of cholera associated with extreme weather conditions brought by the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon.
During 1998, the following countries have already reported cholera outbreaks: Bolivia (La Paz, El Alto, Valles y Tropico de la Paz) 165 cases and 5 deaths; Honduras (La Mosquitia in Gracias a Dios Department ) 219 cases and 12 deaths; Ecuador (Loja Province) 11 cases and 1 death; Peru (various departments) 2863 cases and 16 deaths; Nicaragua (border area with Honduras) 3 suspected cases. It is expected that other countries in the region will report increased cholera incidence in the coming months.
Preventive and control measures are being taken by the Ministries of Health of the affected countries. However, as the epidemic enters its 8th year in the western hemisphere and with the added impact of El Niño, cholera will continue to challenge governments and health agencies; additional international resources for emergency preparedness and control measures will be needed this year. WHO/PAHO are working closely with countries in the region to reactivate cholera preparedness and response plans.