From BBC News: Yemen cholera cases reach one million – ICRC

The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says.

At least 2,226 people are believed to have died of the disease since April, although the number of new cases has declined for 14 consecutive weeks.

The ICRC said the outbreak was “amplifying the suffering of a country caught up in a brutal war”.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera. In severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

From Voice of America: Preventable, Forgotten Diseases Re-emerging in Besieged Yemen

The charity, Doctors Without Borders reports preventable, long-forgotten diseases are re-emerging in Yemen due to the catastrophic war that has been going on since March 2015.

Diphtheria has been eradicated in most parts of the world. The last outbreak of this highly infectious, but preventable respiratory disease occurred in 1982 in Yemen. But, this disease has made a deadly comeback after two and one-half years of catastrophic war and the blockade of humanitarian and commercial goods imposed by Saudi Arabia.

Marc Poncin is Emergency Coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Yemen. He said an outbreak of diphtheria emerged in early October.

“Today, we have a bit more than 300 cases of diphtheria, 35 deaths,” he said. “So, it is a mortality rate of above 10 percent. What is really worrying with diphtheria is the mortality rate in the under-five. We have 25 percent, one out of four children dying of diphtheria in Yemen.”

Unfortunately, he said the vaccines needed to prevent diphtheria and the antibiotics to treat the infection are both in short supply.

Meanwhile as cholera reaches its one millionth suspected cases, the number of new cases has declined to 15,000 per week. That number was at its highest of 50,000 the end of June.

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