Sierra Leone cholera outbreak death toll hits 224

The World Health Organization confirmed that more than 12,000 people have been infected with cholera in Sierra Leone between the beginning of January and August 24 with at least 224 reported fatalities.

Most of the deaths during the period occurred in Freetown because of a combination of overcrowding, poor sanitation, dirty water and heavy rain. The cumulative factors resulted in a rapid spread of the water-borne disease, PressTV reports.

Sierra Leone's government declared a national emergency after the epidemic spread to other parts of the country. The WHO estimates that the number of cases may hit 32,000 when the outbreak peaks near the end of September.

Medics from Doctors Without Borders said that the volunteers and health authorities in the country's capital are trying their best to deal with the rising number of cholera patients, according to PressTV.

Conakry, the capital of Guinea, is experiencing similar conditions, with more than double the amount of cholera cases reported during its last outbreak in 2007.

Cholera is a bacterial infectious disease that targets the small intestine. The disease spreads when people drink or eat contaminated liquid or food. Cholera may cause vomiting and acute diarrhea and can be deadly if the victim goes without treatment.