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WHO announces over 1,900 deaths, 195,000 Cholera cases globally

THE World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 1,932 cholera cases and a total of 194,897 deaths globally due to the cholera outbreak.

The outbreaks were recorded between January 1, 2024, and May 26, 2024, with cases identified in 24 countries across five WHO regions.

The Eastern Mediterranean Region had the highest number of cases, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the South-East Asia Region, and the European Region.

During this period, no outbreaks were reported in the Western Pacific Region.

The global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) was depleted until early March but surpassed the emergency target of 5 million doses in early June for the first time in 2024.

As of June 10, 2024, the stockpile contains 6.2 million doses.

Despite the increased supply, the demand for the vaccine continues to outpace its availability, with 92 million OCV doses requested by 16 countries since January 2023, nearly double the 49 million doses produced during that time.

The UN health agency, WHO, exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines by March but managed to exceed the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024.

WHO reported that 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV since January last year, almost double the 49 million produced during that time.

WHO is collaborating with partners such as UNICEF to find long-term solutions for cholera.

WHO has classified the global resurgence of cholera as a grade three emergency, indicating the highest internal level for emergencies within WHO.

Due to the significant number of outbreaks, their geographical spread, and the shortage of vaccines and resources, WHO continues to assess the global risk level as very high, maintaining the event as a grade three emergency.

The recent increase in cholera outbreaks and cases poses a challenge to global response capacity due to a shortage of cholera vaccines and other resources.

Climate change and conflict exacerbate the underlying triggers for cholera outbreaks, such as poverty and conflict.

The statement highlighted that cases of cholera are rising, even in countries that have not previously reported the disease, with extreme climate events facilitating the spread of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae through contaminated food and water.

The recent cholera outbreaks have been more lethal, with the highest case fatality rates recorded in over a decade, stressing the global response capacity.

The ongoing risk from cholera is deemed very high by WHO, which is responding urgently to prevent deaths and mitigate outbreaks worldwide.

In Nigeria, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, reported 21 fatalities and an update of 350 suspected cases and 15 deaths.

Similarly, the Ogun State Government confirmed the outbreak, resulting in one fatality and hospitalization of five individuals.

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