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News: Cholera outbreak kills nine as cases spike to over 330 in Bale zone Oromia and bordering Somali regions

A girl receives oral cholera vaccine during a campaign led by IVI and partners in Shashemene, Ethiopia. Picture Credit: International Vaccine Institute/May 2022

Addis Ababa: A new report by the UN said that at least nine people have died following the latest cholera outbreak across five districts in Oromia and Somali regional state, with over 330 cases reported as of 31 October.

A new report by UN says 9 deaths (Cumulative Case Fatality Rate – CFR – of 3.30 percent) have been reported as of 25 October while numbers cases spiked to 330 as of 31 October.

The first cholera case was reported in Harana Buluk woreda of Bale zone, Southern Oromia region of Ethiopia on 27 August this year. On 18 September, Berbere woreda became the second woreda reporting cholera cases, soon after followed by Delo Mena woreda where suspected cases were reported in Burka IDPs site on 03 October.

According to the report the Cholera outbreak is active in 23 kebeles of three districts of Bale Zone of Oromia and nine kebeles of one district of Liban zone, Somali regions. Additional 114 districts are at risk of an outbreak, including IDP sites.

“The use of unsafe water from contaminated water points is the most likely cause of this outbreak” while “limited access to water and sanitation (WASH) services, poor hygiene practices, including open defecation and lack of water treatment options are among the factors that have contributed to the rapid spread of the disease across the zones”, the report said.

The reported cases mostly fall within the age range of 0 to 14 years (with 20 per cent amongst children under five), with 52 per cent being female, the report added.

The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Oromia Region Health Bureau (ORHB), with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, have deployed a multidisciplinary rapid response team (RRT) to the Bale zone to contain the outbreak.

The Oromia region is also battling another outbreak of Malaria which killed 37 people and infected more than 131, 000 in the past three months in 12 zones and 168 districts of the region.

At least 53 people died of cholera outbreak and more than 1,873 cases were were identified in eight Woredas in Dawro Zone, and two Woredas of formerly Bench Sheko Zone in SNNP regional state in the last week of December 2020. AS

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