CHANGES dateline, ADDS continental context
The deadliest cholera outbreak in Malawi’s history has killed at least 1,210 people, while vaccines remain scarce and several other African nations report outbreaks, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
The southern African nation has been battling its worst cholera outbreak on record, with nearly 37,000 cases reported since March 2022.
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”.
The WHO said in a statement that active transmission was now ongoing in 27 out of Malawi’s 29 districts, with the country seeing a 143-percent increase in the number of cases last month compared to December.
“With a sharp increase of cases seen over the last month, fears are that the outbreak will continue to worsen without strong interventions,” WHO warned in a statement.
But the UN health agency pointed out that the crisis in Malawi is occurring against a backdrop of surging cholera outbreaks worldwide, which have “constrained the availability of vaccines, tests and treatments.”
Some 80,000 cases were recorded on the African continent over the whole of 2022.