The number of cases of cholera in northern Iraq has more than doubled since the disease was officially confirmed in the country four days ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Up to 16,000 people are now known to be suffering from acute watery diarrhoea, compared with 7,000 when Iraq was put on formal alert.
Ten people have died so far from the epidemic in the Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk and Erbil provinces where the first cases were reported last month.
Contaminated water sources have been blamed for the incidence of cholera, which is a waterborne disease. It starts with acute diarrhoea and can lead to death in just a few hours from severe dehydration and kidney failure.
The WHO representative in Iraq, Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer, said delays in ensuring access to safe water, safe food and better hygiene could lead to further spread of the disease.
A WHO team of experts is working with the government to inspect water sources and try to contain the disease. It had provided 10 Interagency Diarrhoeal Disease kits and delivered two truckloads of intravenous fluids and antibiotics to Erbil.