Malawi keeps schools shut as cholera deaths surge | Health News

Cholera is an annual problem during the rainy months in Malawi from November to March, but the current outbreak is believed to be the worst.

Malawi has delayed the opening of public schools in its two major cities Blantyre and Lilongwe, the health minister said on Monday, to try to slow the rise in deaths from cholera.

The total number of cases has risen to 17,824 and the number of deaths to 595 since cases were first reported in March, with the death rate rising to 3.34%, according to the Health Ministry.

Cholera is an annual problem during the rainy months in Malawi from November to March, when the death toll is around 100 per year. But the current outbreak is predicted to be the worst.

Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said: “As the number of cholera cases and deaths continue to rise in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, primary and secondary schools in the two cities will not start school on Monday. January 3 as previously announced”.

She said a new reopening date will be announced later.

The United Nations health agency says the death rate is rising in about 30 countries around the world that have reported cholera outbreaks by 2022, about a third higher than a typical year.

Cholera is spread through contaminated food or water and can cause acute diarrhea. Many people have mild symptoms, but it can be fatal within hours if left untreated.

The victims in Malawi include medical staff at public health centers.

Chiponda called on authorities to tighten control measures, including spraying chlorine to disinfect crowded places such as markets and schools and increasing vaccinations.


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