Tanzania Cholera – Update

U.N. aid agencies report better sanitation and clean drinking water is containing a cholera epidemic among Burundian refugees in Tanzania, but there are fears that the deadly disease could spread to the local Tanzanian population.

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) reports measures to control cholera in western Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika area appear to be working. More than 4,000 cases of cholera have been reported among newly arrived Burundian refugees there, and the disease has killed 30 people.

The epidemic peaked in early May with 915 cases, but has since subsided to around 100 cases per day. UNHCR says this is due to improved hygiene standards, increased supplies of safe drinking water, and close cooperation by Tanzanian health authorities.

More than 64,000 Burundian refugees have fled to Tanzania this month, trying to escape political turmoil and a failed military coup in Burundi. They are living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions — a perfect breeding ground for cholera.

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