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Spike in cholera infections and shortage of vaccines in Zambia – Medicine

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Spike in cholera infections and shortage of vaccines in Zambia – Medicine

In 2023, more than half of the countries reporting cholera cases in the world are in Africa and Zambia is now battling the worst cholera epidemic in decades as the vaccination program comes under pressure due to increased demand global vaccine supply. The spike in cholera led to the opening of schools being delayed until February 12, leaving around 4.3 million students at home.


Street markets are often at the center of the epidemic.


Contaminated water and food spread the infection quickly. A heavier than normal rainy season has made the situation worse. Flood water mixes with sewage water and facilitates the spread of the Vibrio cholerae bacterium.


Zambian Health Minister Sylvia Masebo told the BBC: “We hope to be able to get more vaccines as soon as possible. It is not easy because the manufacturing companies have not produced much, so the vaccines are not easily available.”


According to a statement from Ocha (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), since January 2023, approximately 188,000 cases of cholera and 3,000 deaths have been reported in eight southern African countries and six countries continue to have ongoing cases of infection : Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Malawi has counted 59,000 cases, the highest number in the region.


Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe have recorded between 10,000 and 50,000 cases, while Tanzania and South Africa have reported fewer than 2,000 cases.

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