Cholera deaths surge in Malawi, keeping schools closed
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[January 02, 2023]
BLANTYRE, Malawi (Reuters) - Malawi has delayed the opening of
public schools in the southern African country's two major cities of
Blantyre and Lilongwe, the health minister said Monday, to try to slow
down a surge in cholera deaths.
Pilirani Wanja, a clinician at Ndirande
Health Centre, demonstrates to clients how to take the cholera vaccine
in response to the latest cholera outbreak in Blantyre, Malawi, November
16, 2022. REUTERS/Eldson Chagara
total number of cases and deaths has accelerated to 17,824 and
595 respectively since cases were first reported in March, with
the mortality rate increasing to 3.34 per cent, according to the
Cholera is an annual problem during Malawi's rainy months from
November to March, where the number of deaths is around 100 a
year. But the current outbreak is expcted to be the worst yet.
"Due to the continuing increase of cholera cases and deaths in
the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, primary and secondary
schools in the two cities will not start on 3rd January as
earlier advised," Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said in a
A new reopening date will be announced later, she said.
The U.N. health agency says fatality rates are rising in about
30 countries around the world that reported cholera outbreaks in
2022, about a third higher than in a typical year.
Cholera is spread by contaminated food or water and can cause
acute diarrhoea. Many people have mild symptoms but it can kill
within hours if untreated.
Victims in Malawi include medics at public health centres.
Chiponda called on authorities to tighten control measures,
including spraying chlorine to disinfect congested places such
as markets and schools and stepping up inoculations.
(Reporting by Frank Phiri; Editing by Promit Mukherjee and Nick
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