More than 1,200 people have succumbed to cholera in Malawi since an outbreak first reported in March 2022 that has so far infected more than 36,900 people, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced late Thursday.In a statement, the WHO said some 36,943 cases had been reported in all 29 districts as of February 3 while 1,210 people had died since 3 March 2022.
“This is the deadliest outbreak of cholera in the country’s history,” the UN agency said.
It warned that there is a high likelihood that the outbreak could spread to most of Malawi’s neighbours, with cases having already been reported in Mozambique and Zambia.
Confirmed cases have already been reported across the border in Mozambique, while the WHO said it assessed the current risk of spread inside Malawi and to other neighbouring countries as “very high.”
Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by ingesting bacteria in contaminated water or food.
It is mainly linked to inadequate sanitation and insufficient access to safe drinking water, and is an extremely virulent disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea resulting in high mortality.