The number of cholera outbreaks worldwide is increasing. In the past few days alone, three other countries have reported cases of cholera, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in Geneva on Friday. 22 countries are currently affected. "We estimate that more than a billion people in 43 countries are at direct risk of cholera," said Philippe Barboza, head of the WHO cholera team. "Poverty, conflict and disaster are fueling the outbreaks, and the situation is being exacerbated by climate change."
Cholera is a diarrheal disease caused by bacteria. It can cause severe dehydration and death, particularly in the young, old, or debilitated. People are mostly infected through drinking water contaminated with faeces or vomit from sick people, or through eating contaminated food.
According to Barboza, there is not enough vaccine to deal with so many outbreaks at once. According to initial calculations, only about 37 million cans will be available this year. The WHO had already lowered the vaccination recommendation from two to one dose per person. Tests and medication are also scarce. For the first time, the WHO called for donations specifically for the fight against cholera. This year 25 million dollars (23.7 million euros) are necessary.