At least 135 cholera deaths confirmed in Cameroon

A public health official in Cameroon has confirmed that 135 people have died this year as a result of the cholera outbreak in six of the West African nation’s 10 regions.

Approxiamtely three-quarters of the 4,122 cases have occurred in areas close to the capital, Yaounde, and the main port, Douala, Alim Hayatou, secretary of state for public health, said in a statement, Bloomberg reports.

Children’s charitable organization Plan International said that the country’s epidemic could spiral out of control without intervention from other countries.

“It might get out of control if no action is taken,” Baro Farami, the Cameroon country director at Plan International, said, according to SOS Children. “We need more support. We don’t have enough public toilets, access to clean water is limited and people don’t see the link between hygiene and disease spreading.”

Famari said that trained volunteers who work for the organization will start to raise awareness about health and hygiene practices in the country.

“We’ll also carry out disinfection of latrines and public water points, as well as supporting the referral and treatment of cases,” Famari said, according to SOS Children.

Government estimates report that the disease may take anywhere from four to six months to get under control. Most outbreaks in West Africa result when rain washes open sewage into streams used for drinking water. A cholera outbreak in 2010 in northern Cameroon killed 600 people.