Cholera on the rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Cholera cases are increasing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an outbreak of the waterborne illness has been ongoing since March.

A report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs claims that as of the beginning of October, there have been at least 6,910 cases of cholera and 384 deaths from the disease, according to

"We cannot know the exact cause of the disease but we know that it has spread from one person to the other due to poor hygiene," Laurence Sailly, the Médecins Sans Frontières assistant medical coordinator, said, reports.

The outbreak was first reported in the northeastern part of the country, but has since spread along the Congo River to the capital of Kinshasa. Sailly said that people seeking treatment along the river served to spread the disease further.

"As the season changes there are new microbes that develop in environments that are not served with potable water,” the World Health Organization’s Kossi Ayigan said, reports. “People easily catch diseases."

The DRC outbreak is also thought to have spread to the neighboring Republic of Congo. The outbreak there is thought to have led to the deaths of at least 20 people. Most of the reported cases were along the Congo River, which forms the border between the two countries.