The Southeast African country has been experiencing a cholera epidemic since late December and the total case count is now over 4,500. According to an RFI report (computer translated), the outbreak has sickened 4,518 (confirmed cases) and resulted in the deaths of 41 people.


In an interview today, Health Minister Quinhas Fernandes said he was concerned with the evolution of the disease in the state of Tete, in the western region, which borders Zimbabwe and Malawi, where 1,500 cases of cholera were recorded only in the city of Tete.

Related: Malawi: Floods, displaced people and cholera puts UNICEF on high alert

In other states, the epidemic is stabilizing and the Mozambican authorities believe that with the end of the rainy season in March, the critical period will be overcome.

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.