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Cholera cases reach 56 in IDP camp

Endless queues of colorful water cans at the pump and boreholes testify to the shortage of water provided at Pabbo internally displaced persons camp, Uganda, 22 February 2004. Many residents have to make the dangerous trek outside the camp in search of vi

The number of cholera cases reported among residents of Pabbo displaced person's (IDP) camp in the northern Ugandan district of Gulu reached 56, including three deaths in October, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

Forty-three cholera patients had been treated at a health facility in the camp and discharged by 28 October and 10 were still receiving treatment, the WHO said in an update issued on 10 November.

The first case of the epidemic was a man who had been in the camp without visiting another place for a long time. He fell sick and was admitted in Pabbo health centre with pneumonia on 3 October, WHO said. He was about to be discharged after improvement but developed profuse diarrhoea and vomiting, and later died. The other two deaths occurred outside the health-care settings.

Pabbo IDP camp is the largest in the region with a population of over 67,000 people. The camps were set to accommodate people who could not continue to live in their villages because of fighting between government forces and rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army. The insurgents became notorious for their brutal attacks against civilians during the 18 years that the conflict has raged.

According to WHO, measures taken to curb the spread of the disease include the setting up of a temporary cholera treatment centre with isolation facilities, social mobilisation of the community towards containment of the epidemic through encouraging personal, food and environmental hygiene using community resource persons, local FM radio and community talks by the health workers and leaders.

Water chlorination began after tests found that all water pots in households, two out of 14 boreholes and all six springs were contaminated. Oral rehydration therapy sites were established in the camp to handle mild cases of diarrhoea and two large tents were set up to handle more cases, should the need arise.

Cholera-control measures were, however, being hampered by recent heavy rains that had worsened sanitary conditions, according to WHO.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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