SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

Cholera outbreak infects at least 389 in Congo

Migrants from the countryside traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo's second largest city, Pointe-Noire, are worsening a cholera outbreak that first started in November, according to local authorities and the health ministry.

The outbreak of cholera infected at least 389 people in the city of more than 800,000. The disease claimed the lives of 10 people since November. Fran├žois Ibovi, the country's health minister, said heavy rain in the port city and sanitation issues triggered the outbreak, IRIN reports.

Roland Bouiti Viaudo, the mayor of Pointe-Noire, said the major city is getting a large influx of migrants from rural areas.

"People build and settle in prohibited areas, including (around) sewers, blocking the free flow of wastewater, which explains the repeated outbreaks of cholera," Viaudo said, according to IRIN. "To stop the disease... everyone - the authorities, NGOs and communities - should mobilize and become aware of this danger."

The DRC held a council of ministers' meeting in March to announce that emergency aid was released to battle the outbreak, though the government did not specify the amount of money used.

Health authorities in Pointe-Noire set up an intensive cholera treatment center on the grounds of the Loandjili Hospital, IRIN reports.

"This center is run by six specialists in infectious diseases and the gastrointestinal tract," Alexis Dokekias, the county's director-general of health, said, according to IRIN. "It also has a team of 28 nurses with disposable gowns, gloves, masks and shoes to avoid contamination. So far... of all cases reported by the Pointe-Noire health services, 347 have already returned home, 10 have died, and 32 are still hospitalized."