Al-Sabah Al-Yemeni | follow up |
The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has surpassed more than 500,000 during 2017, with approximately 2,000 patients succumbing to the virus’ lethal effects since the outbreak began, according to a recent release from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Yemen’s health workers are operating in impossible conditions,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water. These doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response – without them we can do nothing in Yemen.”
While the overall number of new cases nationwide have declined since early July, the virus is still infecting people throughout the country at a rate of approximately 5,000 per day.
The epidemic, which according to WHO is currently the largest in the world, has spread rapidly from poor hygiene and sanitation conditions. Due to ongoing violent conflicts within the country, millions of people cannot access clean water and waste removal has ceased in major cities, leaving ideal conditions for cholera bacteria to spread.
WHO said it is working with partners around the clock to set up cholera treatment clinics, rehabilitation facilities, medical supply delivery services, and national health support efforts.
More than 99 percent of patients who can access medical care have survived cholera infection; however, approximately 15 million people are unable to reach basic healthcare services.
“To save lives in Yemen today we must support the health system, especially the health workers,” Ghebreyesus said. “And we urge the Yemeni authorities – and all those in the region and elsewhere who can play a role – to find a political solution to this conflict that has already caused so much suffering.”
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine and is primarily spread from Vibrio cholera bacterium within contaminated water and food. Symptoms most commonly include diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and muscle cramps. According to studies published in the Lancet, approximately 28,000 people die each year from the virus worldwide.