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Cholera in Yemen (Update)

13 Dec 2016

On 8 December 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) released an updateLink on the number of cholera cases in Yemen.

The Ministry of Public Health and Population in Yemen has published  figures as of 8 December 2016:

  • 8975 suspected cases of cholera
  • 89 associated deaths have been reported, with a case–fatality rate of 1% 
  • 138 laboratory-confirmed cases of Vibrio cholerae 01.

Affected areas include 135 districts in the governorates of Abyan, Aden, Amran, Al Hudaydah, Al-Bayda'a, Al-Dhale'a, Dhamar Ibb, Hajjah, Lahij, Raymah, Sana'a, Ta'izz and Sana'a City. New cases have also been reported in the governorate of Al Jawf for the first time. Over 7.6 million people, and more than 3 million internally displaced persons currently live in areas affected by the outbreak. 

In response the WHO in partnership with the Ministry, UNICEF, OCHA and other partner organisations have:

  • Strengthened the capacity of local health workers through training on case management and infection control.
  • Essential supplies such as rapid diagnostic test kits, IV fluids, oral rehydration solutions and water chlorination tablets have been provided in affected communities.
  • Social mobilisation and health education campaigns among citizens to raise their awareness on prevention of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases.

The cholera outbreak has exacerbated by the effects of war which has rendered much of the country's health facilities non-operational.

Advice for Travellers

Severe cholera is rare in travellers, mild cases may present as travellers' diarrhoea.

  • All travellers should be given advice on maintaining good food, water and hand hygiene, see traveller's diarrhoea, safe eating and drinking and water purification.
  • Travellers should be advised on basic steps in self - treating diarrhoea, particularly maintaining hydration.

When to consider vaccination

Vaccination should be considered under the following circumstances and is dependant on the individual risk assessment:

  • Volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where cholera outbreaks likely.
  • Those travelling to work in slums/refugee camps, areas affected by natural disasters, or countries experiencing cholera outbreaks (see current notes on the country concerned).