Emergencies preparedness, response

1999 - Cholera in Afghanistan

20 July 1999

Disease Outbreak Reported

A total of 14 402 cases of severe diarrhoea, including cholera cases, has been reported between 29 May and 12 July. The most affected area is Kabul province, Central region where nearly 7 000 cases have occurred. Out of 9 samples tested, 5 were laboratory-confirmed as cholera. A significant increase in the number of suspect cholera cases was noted in Kunduz province, North-eastern region and various provinces in Southern region during the week 3 to 9 July.

The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) organized a cholera task force including representatives of the MOPH, WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans frontières and Save the Children Fund (US). Data collection from hospitals and other health centres was organized in Kabul city. WHO distributed drug supplies through its suboffices in the regions and arrangements are being made to procure more supplies. Regions where no cholera cases have been reported have been alerted and task forces formed within the diarrhoeal disease surveillance system.

Discussions were held with the MOPH, UNICEF and the World Food Programme in Kabul to prepare the implementation of control activities including chlorination of wells, mass awareness campaigns and construction and installation of microfilters for the provision of safe drinking-water at public places in Kabul city.

Cholera is endemic in the country and outbreaks occur every year. In 1998, around 10 000 cholera cases (including suspect/acute diarrhoea cases) were reported in Kabul alone, and in 1997 around 4 000 cases (including suspect cases) were reported.