September 21, 2005

Guinea-Bissau cholera death toll nears 300

BISSAU (Reuters) - The death toll from a cholera outbreak
in Guinea-Bissau is approaching 300 and more than 4,000 new
cases have been reported this month alone, the Health Ministry
said on Wednesday.

The tiny West African state was the worst hit by a
region-wide cholera epidemic after months of heavy rains
triggered outbreaks of the waterborne disease by flooding
latrines and contaminating wells.

"There have been 15,776 registered cases, including 288
deaths," Tome Ca, a health ministry official, told reporters.

At the start of September, there were just over 11,000
registered cases and 224 deaths had been reported.

The capital Bissau has borne the brunt of the epidemic,
with more than 8,800 cases.

Cholera can kill victims within 24 hours by inducing
vomiting and diarrhea that cause severe dehydration, but is
treatable using a simple mixture of water and rehydration