Cholera outbreak in Yemen kills 471

WHO says that while the number of deaths has risen, the rate of infection in war-torn Yemen appears to be slowing with more than 51,000 suspected cases reported.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

In this file picture, a man is treated for suspected cholera infection at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May. 7, 2017.

Updated May 30, 2017

A cholera epidemic in Yemen has claimed the lives of at least 471 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed on Monday.


According to the latest WHO bulletin covering the period from April 27, there was a "significant decrease" in the daily average number of cases recorded in the week up to May 27 compared to the previous seven-day period.

The epidemic began in October and grew until December. It then dwindled but was never brought fully under control, and a new surge in cases began in April.

Yemen has been hit hard by civil war, with 19 million of its 28 million people needing humanitarian aid and many of them on the brink of famine. Fewer than half of the country's health facilities are fully functional.

Average daily cases

The WHO said on Monday that the average daily number of cases recorded between May 21-27 was 2,529 - down from 3,025 in the previous seven days.

The bulletin said that the total number of suspected cases stood at 51,832.

Caused by ingesting bacteria from water or food contaminated with faeces, cholera usually manifests itself with sudden acute diarrhoea and can kill within hours, although three-quarters of infected people show no symptoms.

The short incubation period means outbreaks can spread with speed, especially in places without safe water and proper sanitation, according to the WHO.

TRTWorld and agencies