Yemen: following cholera now fear of meningitis outbreak

The cholera outbreak in Yemen continues as health officials reported some 33,000 cases last week.

From 27 April to 1 August 2017, 443,166 suspected cholera cases and 1,921 deaths (CFR: 0.4%) have been reported in 95.6% (22/23) of Yemen governorates, and 89.2% (297/333) of the districts, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Poor sanitation and the lack of safe drinking water due to the conflict make the population very vulnerable to the infection, particularly people suffering from chronic and acute malnutrition.

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According to UN data, more than 18 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, some three million are internally displaced, and tens of thousands of people have died or been injured. Food is scarce and prices have risen drastically.

In addition to the cholera epidemic, the world’s worst, the Ministry of Health in Yemen, in collaboration with WHO, are closely monitoring the epidemiological pattern of the ongoing reported cases of meningitis in Yemen. Since the beginning of the year up to 8 July 2017, a total of 2,146 suspected cases have been reported through the electronic early warning surveillance system (eDEWS) in the country. This is nearly the total for all of 2016 (2,649).

Cases of suspected meningitis have been reported in nearly all governorates of Yemen. Nearly two-thirds of the total number of reported suspected meningitis cases, 1413 are in the under five year age group compared to 733 in the over five year age group.

Despite the challenges of the humanitarian crisis, the occurrence of meningitis in Yemen has not reached unexpected levels and the risk of spread to neighboring countries remains low. This situation may change at any time; therefore surveillance must be enhanced to ensure effective monitoring and preparedness and response capacities should be strengthened at all levels.

source: outbreaknewstoday.com

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