More than 1,400 suspected cases and 17 recorded deaths so far are part of Lebanon’s first cholera outbreak in over three decades.
381 instances have been verified in the lab since the first case was reported.
Although the outbreak was first limited to northern areas, it has quickly expanded, with laboratory-confirmed cases already being recorded from all eight governorates and 18 out of 26 districts.
The cholera strain that is currently in circulation is serotype Vibrio cholera O1 El-Tor Ogawa, which is comparable to the strain that is currently in circulation in Syria.
Deadly but avoidable
Although cholera is fatal, it may be avoided by becoming immunized and by having access to clean water and sanitary facilities.
It is simply treated with prompt oral rehydration or, in more severe cases, antibiotics.
The political and economic situation in Lebanon is precarious since the nation is already struggling to deal with other issues, which has made matters worse.
Along with other humanitarian partners, WHO is collaborating with the public health ministry to try and stop the epidemic.
They have worked together to develop a national cholera preparedness and response strategy that outlines the measures that must be taken as soon as possible, while also stepping up monitoring and active case-finding in areas where the disease is spreading.
Because of the protracted economic crisis and the country’s uneven distribution of access to clean water and adequate sanitation, the vulnerability of the people of Lebanon is being made worse.
The ability of hospitals and basic healthcare institutions to respond quickly has been severely hampered by the emigration of healthcare staff, interrupted supply chains, and costly electricity supplies.
By stepping up response efforts, including enhancing the quality of the water and sanitation, there is still time to stop the outbreak’s spread and negative effects.
In order to relieve the strain on hospitals, we must also spread knowledge on how to stop cholera infections. Assuring that individuals have access to clean water as well as proper sanitation and hygiene practices is the greatest strategy to avoid a cholera epidemic.
As a component of a comprehensive plan to stop and prevent cholera epidemics, we need to increase the availability of vaccines on a worldwide scale.