Lebanon records first cholera death

The Lebanese health ministry reported that the number of cholera cases in northern Lebanon has risen to 26, with the first death as a result.

Akkar, a region that borders Syria, has reported its first cholera cases in nearly 30 years. The UN has expressed concern about an increase in cholera cases in Syria, the last occurrence of which was more than a decade ago.

Over 10,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported across the country in the past six weeks alone, the World Health Organisation said. The Lebanese economy is deteriorating as a result of rampant power cuts, water shortages, and skyrocketing inflation, resulting in three-quarters of the population being plunged into poverty.

The Lebanese health minister stated that the authorities have been working with the United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organisation for several weeks to make sure the financially hit country can respond effectively to a possible outbreak, as well as expanding testing capacities at hospitals and labs.

This follows a similar outbreak in Syria has killed at least 39 people and infected hundreds more in September.

Cholera is caused by ingesting contaminated water or food – something that can be hard to avoid in times of drought, conflict or over-crowding.

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