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Cholera in Somalia (Update)

26 Jan 2017

On the 18 January 2017 the World Health Organisation (WHO) reportedLink that the Ministry of Health in Somalia has provided an update on the ongoing outbreak of cholera. 

A total of 1306 new suspected cholera cases were reported in the first two weeks of January 2017. Most of the new cases reported in 2017 were from Bay, Banadir, Middle Shabelle and Lower Shabelle regions.

The cumulative total between January and December 2016 was 15 619 suspected cases of cholera, including 531 associated deaths were reported.  Of these, 80 cases were laboratory confirmed for Vibrio cholerae.

In response the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and nongovernmental organizations have expanded prevention and control efforts, helped to improve surveillance systems and decreased the case-fatality rate. However, this outbreak has increased pressure on an already weakened health system which is also battling malnutrition, measles and other emerging diseases. Somalia is currently experiencing severe drought with acute food insecurity, and water shortage.

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).