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Algeria, Africa: Cholera

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    Posted: September 06 2018 at 10:12am
ALGERIA CHOLERA OUTBREAK: Government REJECTS calls to delay school start

ALGERIAN schoolchildren resumed classes yesterday after Health Minister Mokhtar Hasbellaoui said the country’s deadly cholera outbreak was “under control,” rejecting trade union calls to delay the start of the new school year. The epidemic, the country’s first in more than two decades, has caused two deaths and infected dozens since it was confirmed in early August.
By Romina McGuinness

PUBLISHED: 17:35, Wed, Sep 5, 2018 | UPDATED: 17:35, Wed, Sep 5, 2018

Mr Hasbellaoui was quoted as saying by the state news agency APS as declaring: “The situation is under control but preventive and infection control measures will be maintained until we understand the real causes of this general health emergency.”

The cholera outbreak, the country’s first since 1996, has killed at least two people since it was confirmed on August 7.

No new cases of the disease have been confirmed since August 29, according to Algerian authorities.

Mr Hasbellaoui did not clarify the number of “suspected cases” – patients presenting with the symptoms of cholera – currently under observation in hospital.

Cholera is transmitted through infected faecal matter, often via contaminated water or food.

It causes acute watery diarrhoea and vomiting, causing dehydration that if left untreated can lead to death.

On Sunday, health officials said that only 10 out of the 74 confirmed cases remained in hospital, prompting Mr Hasbellaoui to pledge the outbreak would be eradicated “within days”.

Speaking after a hospital visit, the country’s health chief said that he understood the concerns of education-sector unions – who called for the start of the school year to be delayed amid infection fears – but did share them, and that the school calendar would be respected.

On Monday evening, Algerian media reported that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had sacked Mustapha Layadhi, the provincial governor of Blida, a town some 50 kilometres south of the capital Algiers, amid claims the town’s squalor had caused the outbreak.

Several Algerian media said that Blida’s filthy streets and Mr Layadhi’s lack of empathy and poor knowledge about the transmission modes of cholera had allowed the disease to spread.

The outbreak hit the towns of Algiers, Blida, Tipaza, Bouria, Medea and Ain Defla.

Algerian political and health authorities, for their part, have been bitterly criticised for their weak response to the outbreak.

They have been accused of waiting too long to announce the presence of the disease and to have made contradictory statements about the origins of the outbreak.


[Cholera seems to be on the rise in central Africa generally.]
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