Sierra Leone cholera cases now above 18,000

The number of cholera cases in Sierra Leone since the beginning of 2012 rose to 18,508, including 271 deaths, as of September 16.

Most of the cases are being reported in the Western area of the country, which is the location of the country's capital city of Freetown. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is closely working with partners at international and national level to keep the outbreak under control.

Activities at the field level in the country include water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, data management, surveillance, case management, communication and social mobilization. The organizations involved are emphasizing early case detection and expedited provision of treatment at the district level. Cholera cases are being managed in cholera treatment units.

The Cholera Command and Control Center is providing technical advice, coordination and monitoring for the outbreak. The C4 was created to implement the Cholera Preparedness and Response Operation Plan to bring the epidemic under control as quickly as possible. The C4 will also guide the decision-making process of the national task force.

Laboratory and case management experts have been deployed to the country from the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh to build capacity among technicians and healthcare workers.

The WHO has yet to recommend any trade or travel restrictions with respect to Sierra Leone.