Emergencies preparedness, response

Cholera in Liberia - Update 3

18 August 2003

Disease Outbreak Reported

The WHO team in Monrovia is continuing to assess the cholera situation, visiting cholera treatment centres and sanitation and water facilities. Data on the number of cases and deaths is very difficult to obtain (see previous report).

There have been cholera outbreaks in previous years in Monrovia, especially during the rainy season. However, at the start of the outbreak in early June this year there were approximately 200 cases per week, compared with 30 cases per week during the same period in 2001 and 2002.

In July 2003, there were 350 severe cases per week; during the week of 11-18 August, there were 240 severe cases of cholera. The number of cases is likely to increase in the near future because of the movement of population and the lack of safe water. The increased level of malnutrition has also added to the risk of more severe cases of cholera.

Working with partners, WHO plans to reactivate the cholera control committee, disseminate health education material and work to mass cholrinate wells as soon as possible.