A cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone that made its way to the capital city of Freetown is spreading at an alarming rate. MSF reported an estimated 1,500 cases and 17 deaths in a July 31 press release. The WHO released new numbers yesterday that cholera has infected 5,706 people since the start of August. They single out Western Aread and Tonkolili as areas with the greatest burden.
Right now, the response is being led by major players such as the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health, MSF, UNICEF and the WHO. At the same time, neighboring Guinea is dealing with its own cholera outbreak. According to MSF, the shared resivor near the coast is a ‘breeding ground for the disease.’
“This ‘coastal cholera’ has already killed some 250 people,” says MSF epidemiologist Michel Van Herp. “The water reservoir allows the Vibrio cholerae bacteria to survive and go on to infect the population.” To respond, organizations are turning their focus onto improving hygiene.