Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Cholera in Iraq - Update 3

19 June 2003

Disease Outbreak Reported

From 28 April to 4 June 2003, a total of 73 laboratory-confirmed cholera cases have been reported in Iraq : 68 in Basra governorate, 4 in Missan governorate, 1 in Muthana governorate. No deaths have been reported.

From 17 May to 4 June 2003, the daily surveillance system of diarrhoeal disease cases in the four main hospitals of Basra reported a total of 1549 cases of acute watery diarrhea. Among these cases, 25.6 % occurred in patients aged 5 years and above.

The water supply situation is critical. Short-term measures have been undertaken by UNICEF and local authorities to improve accessibility to safe drinking water and to limit the spread of water-borne epidemics.

WHO is supporting local authorities in implementing an early warning communicable disease surveillance system, in strengthening laboratory capacity and in coordinating the cholera outbreak response.

The surveillance system is being expanded to the whole Lower South (all 4 governorates) and weekly reports from all facilities have begun.

UNICEF is also supporting the initiative by providing health education material in Arabic and chlorine tablets to all health directorates.

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