The outbreak of cholera in South Africa and possibly in Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia is linked to Zimbabwe, where the disease has already claimed over 3,500 lives and is still not under control, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday.
Countries bordering Zimbabwe have all reported cholera cases, WHO's Fadela Chaib told a news conference, noting that South Africa has reported some 4,800 cases and 34 deaths between November 15 2008 and 20 January 2009.
Mozambique is experiencing an outbreak in 10 out of its 11 provinces, with a total of some 3,600 cases and 25 deaths reported.
Three of Angola's provinces are affected with 273 cases with one death reported so far, while some 3,000 cases and 43 deaths have been reported in Zambia between September 10 2008 and January 27 2009.
But it is hard to say whether all cases are linked to the Zimbabwe outbreak, as Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and parts of South Africa are endemic for the water-borne disease, Chaib noted. Botswana, which is not endemic for cholera, has reported eight cases.
Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, some 73,000 cholera cases have been reported since the outbreak began last August, and the death toll now stands at 3,524.