The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided an update on cholera in the province of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, revealing that from 25 November 2017 through 23 February 2018, 1,065 cases – including 43 deaths – were reported from 32 out of 35 health zones in the province.
In addition, from 25 November 2017 through 15 February 2018, 177 stool specimens were collected for testing at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), and 83 tested positive for Vibrio cholerae, while 83 tested negative and 11 are currently being analysed.
According to WHO’s update, intensive rains and flooding events in January of this year led to case numbers increasing from less than five to more than 100 each week. However, there has been a downward trend in the number of suspected and confirmed cholera cases since mid-January.
WHO said that the risk of the outbreak spreading to neighbouring countries is considered high due to regular popular movement, but the risk at the global level has been assessed to be low. It has recommended the improvement of access to safe water and sanitation and hygienic practices to prevent cholera transmission.
No restriction on travel and trade to the Democratic of Congo has been recommended by WHO based on the information available on the current outbreak. It said that the use of microbiologically safe drinking water and implementation of general hygiene practices should be sufficient to prevent the disease.