1998 - Cholera, Comoros (update)
09 September 1998
Disease Outbreak Reported
The country, which consists of 4 islands (Grande Comore, Moheli, Anjouan and Mayotte) has been experiencing a cholera outbreak since February 1998. The first case was registered in Mbeni, ca. 80 km north of the capital Moroni on Grande Comore. The disease spread soon after to other districts including the capital. The Ministry of Health has kept WHO regularly informed of the situation. By end-April, 1 750 cases and 31 deaths had been reported. Most cases occurred between April and June. By mid-August, the cumulative total for 1998 had reached 3199 cases and 40 deaths.
WHO and other agencies, as well as several NGOs, have been involved from the start in controlling the outbreak and preventing its spread, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Poor basic sanitation, very limited personal and environmental hygiene and poor access to safe water are the major contributors to the continued spread. Epidemic preparedness plans have been set up for the surrounding islands with the support of WHO.
The first case of cholera has now been announced on the island of Mayotte. WHO is in contact with health officials there to support immediate action for control and prevention.