The fatal cholera epidemic in Syria is widening, according to reports from the Ministry of Health there.
The fatal cholera epidemic in Syria is widening, according to reports from the Ministry of Health there. More than 40 new cases in 24 hours were reported on Thursday (September 8) in an epidemic which has already killed more than 61 Syrians this summer. the disease has also affected neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan, but so far Syria has been the worst hit.
SYNOPSIS: The Syrian Health Ministry held a special meeting in Damascus on Thursday to discuss the situation. Nearly two thousand cases have been found in the country since the outbreak began in June. Jordan and Lebanon have suffered less, with only 64 reported cases between them; none of them fatal.
The Syrian outbreak has been largely centred on Damascus, the capital, and the town of Aleppo, 150 miles (240 kilometres) to the north. Cholera is easily spread by unhygienic conditions, and a special campaign is underway to keep the streets as clean as possible.
The cholera germ, which is very easily spread and can travel thousands of miles (kilometres) in a few weeks, attacks the intestines. If not quickly treated, it kills up to 20 per cent of its victims.
The first symptoms are profuse diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to serious dehydration, muscular pains, and weakness. Because it spreads so quickly and easily, several Arab states have banned imports of fruit, vegetables and canned foods from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Meanwhile, authorities in the affected areas have been warning people to observe the strictest personal hygiene, boil drinking water, wash vegetables and fruit, and burn all rubbish.