The number of confirmed cases of cholera has risen to 107 in central and southern parts of the country, a Health Ministry spokesman said on 16 September.
[Read this report in Arabic]
"The number of confirmed cases has reached 107: Babil 64 cases, Karbala 14, Baghdad 24, Najaf two, Diyala one, Basra one case and the last case in Maysan," said Ihssan Jaafar, director-general of the public health directorate and spokesman for the ministry's cholera control unit.
Jaafar said Iraqi health authorities were still fighting the outbreak on two fronts: offering medical treatment and raising awareness among the population either by issuing posters or through television programmes.
He said two kinds of medical treatments were used: oral dehydration therapy – Dextrolyte – for the simple cases, especially for children; while the intravenous one – Ringer Lacpate – involved antibiotics.
"We don't have any shortages [of drugs] for these treatments and we can cope with any outbreak," he said.
Since the outbreak in late August, Iraqi health authorities have been accusing each other of not doing enough to curb the spread of the disease.
On 16 September, Zuhair al-Khafaji, head of the Environment Department at Babil Health Directorate, said negligence by the service authorities was to blame.
"It has been confirmed to us that the chloride, which was used before in the water purification plants and which was of Iranian and Indian origin, had expired. But now we are waiting for a new supply of chloride from Amman, Jordan, which is better than the previous one," al-Khafaji said.
"The reason behind the daily increase in cases [of cholera] is that many people still do not pay attention to health authorities’ directions and keep drinking from rivers without using water [purification] tablets."
Cholera is a gastro-intestinal disease typically spread by contaminated water. It can cause severe diarrhoea, which, in extreme cases, can lead to fatal dehydration. It can be prevented by treating drinking water with chlorine and by improving personal hygiene conditions.
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