A cholera epidemic was officially declared by the Governor of the province of North Kivu in December when the isolation of Vibrio cholerae among 140 of the 247 samples collected from suspected cases of Nyiragongo Health Zone was reported.
As of 4 February 2023, a total of 4386 cholera cases (of which 1009 are laboratory-confirmed) with 16 deaths (CFR 0.4%) have been reported. 4011 cases (91.5%) are from Nyiragongo and 375 (8.5%) from Karisimbi.
In total, 15 health areas including seven in the Nyiragongo HZ (Kanyaruchinya, Kibati, Kiziba, Mudja, Munigi, Ngangi III and Turunga) and eight in Karisimbi HZ (Baraka, Bujovu, Kasika, Katoyi, Majengo, Methodiste Mugunga and Muugano Solidarite) are currently affected by the cholera epidemic.
The cholera outbreak is principally affecting internally displaced populations (IDPs), with 97% of the cases reported among IDPs in the HZ of Nyiragongo, and 59% of cases among IDPs reported from the Methodist health area of Karisimbi HZ, which houses the Don Bosco IDP camp.
However, the outbreak is also spreading across the surrounding communities with nearly 3% of the cases in the HZ of Nyiragongo and 41% of the cases in the HZ of Karisimbi belonging to the host community.
Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by ingesting the bacteria Vibrio cholerae present in contaminated water or food. It is mainly linked to insufficient access to safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation. It is an extremely virulent disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea resulting in high morbidity and mortality, and can spread rapidly, depending on the frequency of exposure, the exposed population and the setting. Cholera affects both children and adults and can be fatal if untreated.
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