Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Report: Major cholera outbreak in Sulaimaniya and Kirkuk

Above: Iraqis wait for treatment at a one-day medical clinic in Rushdi Buhriz in May. The Iraqi doctor was assisted by U.S. forces. Many patients arrived with skin irritations from bathing in unclean water. Other patients were seen for infections, allergies, sore throats, colds, stomach illnesses, and malnutrition. Cholera is a severe diarrheal disease caused by bacteria ingested in contaminated water or food. In its most severe forms, cholera is one of the most rapidly fatal illnesses known: A healthy person may become hypotensive within an hour of the onset of symptoms and may die within 2-3 hours if no treatment is provided. Death is by dehydration through massive diarrhea.

Health officials in northern Iraq are treating nearly 4,000 suspected cases of cholera and eight people have died so far, the health minister for Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region said on Wednesday.

"A health catastrophe could emerge in Kurdistan if help is not urgently offered by other states and the World Health Organization (WHO)," minister Zairyan Othman told Reuters.

Othman said Kurdistan had declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of the acute intestinal infection, which is caught through contaminated water or food.

"The epidemic could move to other northern provinces and even to Baghdad," he warned.

In Geneva, the WHO said it was aware of two outbreaks -- one in the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniya and the other in Kirkuk, a province abutting Kurdistan with a large Kurdish population.

Read the rest at Yahoo News

Related Link:
Report: 8 million Iraqis need emergency aid; 43% of Iraqis live in 'absolute poverty'; 28% of kids malnourished; 70% lack adequate water

Related Link:
Doctors warn children, elderly at increased risk for dhydration, cholera and infections this summer