The Ministry of Health has registered 251 cholera cases and nine related deaths since the country registered the first case on December 19 last year.
The cases have been recorded in Nkhata Bay (12), Machinga (191) and Zomba (48), with all the nine deaths occurring in Machinga.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said on Monday that the outbreak in Machinga and Zomba is being exacerbated by use of unsafe water from Lake Chilwa which is highly contaminated with vibrio cholera, the germs that cause cholera, and added that there is low pit latrine coverage.
“Potentially, the people around the affected areas are at risk of infection especially when their hygiene and sanitation is compromised. For Machinga, Zomba and Phalombe the population at risk is over 78 000, that is those that live around Lake Chilwa,” said Chikumbe.
Nkhata Bay District Hospital spokesperson Christopher Singini said the outbreak in the district has affected Lisale, Mung’ona, Kamwadi and Lichizi villages.
He said the 12 have been admitted to an isolated ward, adding that unhygienic practices—including open defaecation—might have contributed to the outbreak. n