Cholera kills 297 in the Congo

A cholera outbreak in the Congo has killed at least 279 people in the last four months and infected as many as 4,000 more.

The figures were reported by Dr. Ibrahim Cisse, an official working with the United Nations Children’s Fund. The Congolese government has declared an outbreak in four provinces in the Central African nation, according to

Cisse recently said that the northeastern Orientale province has been the most affected. There have been 102 deaths there and more than 1,400 reported cases. Kinshasa, the capital, has seen 124 cases and at least 14 deaths since the epidemic began in mid-June.

In Bololo in the Bandundu province, a lack of knowledge about cholera among health workers and continued contact with victims’ bodies have served to fuel the spread of the epidemic, according to In several provinces of the country, the outbreak of cholera has coincided with a measles epidemic, serving to place further strain on a health system already devastated by years of conflict and neglect.

The outbreak was officially announced in April and immunization campaigns are being supported by the WHO, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders and the Ministry of Health of the DRC, according to Reuters.

Cholera is a waterborne bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated water. It is thought to be easily preventable. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours of infection.