The cholera outbreak that started in June 2014 is still on. As of 5 October 2014 (week 40), a total of 20,955 cases with 16 deaths (case fatality rate of 0.8%) were reported from 101 out of the 216 districts in 9 regions of the country, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) Ghana country office report.

Map of Ghana/CIA

The Greater Accra region has contributed 81% of the total cases.

The good news is there has been an average weekly decrease of 19% of cases in the region over the past five weeks, with 25% of the regions not reporting a case during the past week. The not-so-good news is although there has been a decrease in cases over the past five weeks in the Greater Accra Region (the epicentre of the outbreak), the outbreak continues to spread to districts in the other regions.

Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Water is contaminated by the feces (stool) of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or handled by a person ill with cholera.

Often people have mild illness or no symptoms. However, about 1 in 20 (5%) of infected people will have severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these people, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

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