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Diarrhoea claims 28 lives

An outbreak of cholera in the southern districts of Lesotho has already claimed the lives of 28 villagers following heavy rains this month, health officials told IRIN on Monday.

“The worst affected areas in the Mohale’s Hoek district are the Mekaling and Morifi villages, where villagers have reported 28 deaths,” a doctor in the Health and Social Welfare ministry told IRIN, adding that of the 1,862 villagers screened 22 were seriously ill.

The doctor said health officials visited nine of the 10 catchment areas in the district to assess the situation. “We discovered that there is inadequate sanitation and unprotected water sources, which has led to the contamination of water sources on which households depend.” She added that the water sources that were tested contained faecal matter, but it was not clear whether this was from humans or animals.

The disease, added the doctor, broke out after the heavy rains which started late last December after a prolonged drought. “Water-borne diseases always peak with the advent of summer rains,” said the doctor, who added that the ministry has dispatched a team of public health workers to help contain the situation and conduct educational programmes for villagers.


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: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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