98 cholera deaths recorded in Syria

98 deaths from cholera have been recorded across Syria after the first case was detected in August and an outbreak was detected one month after.

As of December 11, the Support Coordination Unit (ACU) said 30 people had died in areas outside Assad’s control in northeastern Syria and 17 in the north and west of the country due to cholera. As of December 11, the regime’s Ministry of Health reported that 1,609 cases had been confirmed, with 49 deaths.

Between 25 August and 03 December, 56,879 suspected cases have been reported, including 98 attributed deaths to date at a case fatality rate of 0.2%.

By November, the disease already spread to 14 of Syria’s provinces and neighbouring Lebanon. On October 25, UN Operations and Advocacy Division Director Reena Ghelani said there were 24,000 suspected cases of cholera in Syria and at least 80 cholera-related deaths.

Syrian regime received 2 million cholera vaccines from the UN in late November and began vaccinating people in its held areas, but those outside the regime’s control have not yet received UN vaccines. Britain also committed £2 million ($2.3m) to address the spread of cholera in Syria.

Syrian media reported in October that the source of cholera was believed to be linked to unsafe drinking water and sewage systems, and the use of unclean water for crop irrigation. Cholera can infect people of any age, but it is most deadly to those with weak immune systems. Because many cholera bacteria are asymptomatic, it spreads without detection.

The bacteria causes profuse diarrhoea and vomiting, which can lead to death from intense dehydration, sometimes within hours. Cholera outbreaks often occur where there is overcrowding and limited access to clean water and sanitation. Cholera can be fatal if not treated quickly which makes rapid response to curb the spread essential.