Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, October 05, 2007

Cholera crosses Iraq's border into Iran

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Thursday that cholera had spread from Iraq to Iran, highlighting the need for neighboring countries to boost their defenses against the deadly disease, Reuters reported.

Cholera, which continues to spread within Iraq, can be carried to other countries by refugees and through trade. “Borders are permeable, closing them won’t stop the germ,” Claire-Lise Chaignat, WHO global cholera coordinator, said.

At least 15 people have died from the disease in Iraq, and there have been at least 3,315 cases since mid-August. There have been up to 10 cases reported in Iran – near the Iraqi border. However, it is unclear if these were Iraqi refugees or Iranian citizens, Chaignat said. She said that the situation seems to be contained now, however, if it is not controlled, the disease could threaten refugee camps in the area.

“We are particularly concerned about countries with Iraqi refugees where they don’t always have access to good water and sanitation and hygienic conditions,” Chaignat said. “It is important to catch the first cases and treat them correctly.” She encourages neighboring countries to stock up on intravenous fluids and oral rehydration salts to combat dehydration in victims.

For the full story, click here.

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