Sunday, September 02, 2007

U.S.: Cholera outbreak not caused by contaminated water, unlikely to spread

Above: A water purification specialist from the 10th Mountain Division pulls water from one of the storage bags in order to prepare the reverse-osmosis water purification unit for a day's operation. While many Iraqis depend on unpurified water from wells, rivers or canals, U.S. troops are provided purified water throughout Iraq. There are water purification systems at all major U.S. bases and outposts, and five water-purification sites have been established at forward locations, pulling the water pumped from nearby canals for use in cooking, showers, and laundry. Each site has also developed methods for disposing of waste water.

An outbreak of cholera in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah appears not to been caused by contaminated water and is unlikely to spread to Baghdad, the U.S. military said Sunday.

There have been 70 confirmed cases of the disease and more than 4,000 reports of people suffering from symptoms like severe diarrhea and vomiting, said Col. Glynda Lucas, chief of the military's clinical operations in Iraq.

"This appears to be an outbreak — it is not an epidemic," Lucas said in a statement. "It is typical for these areas in Iraq to have cholera at this time of year"...

"Initial reports from ... personnel on the ground indicate that most of the hospital patients in Sulaimaniyah do not have other people ill who are using the same water source — friends, families and neighbors," she said. "The risk of cholera spreading to Baghdad is reasonably low."

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

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Minister: Water treatment plant source of cholera outbreak

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Report: Major cholera outbreak in Sulaimaniya and Kirkuk

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Perspective: Thirsty in the land of two rivers

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