A Cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone has left 224 people dead and many others sick and health officials warn that the outbreak may still be gaining speed.
The Financial Times reports:
“Many of the deaths have occurred in the capital Freetown, where a combination of heavy rain, overcrowding, poor sanitation and dirty water has caused the infection to spread rapidly. Other parts of the country have also been badly hit, prompting Sierra Leone’s government to declare a national emergency.”
Neighboring Guinea has experienced nearly 100 of the 224 deaths while Niger and Mali have also reported infections and death.
Officials in the area are calling the cholera outbreak the worst in recorded history for the area. According to official records more than 12,500 people in Sierra Leone have contracted the disease with upwards of 32,000 cases expected according to the World Health Organization.
At this time the cholera outbreak has a mortality rate of 1.8 percent, nearly double the threshold for a state of emergency.
The last outbreak of this scale occurred in 1994 and officials have already warned that the current outbreak is work with more people experiencing signs of dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and other side effects.
While Cholera can usually be treated and does not lead to death the poor conditions around Sierra Leone have left citizens without fresh water or needed medicine to fight off the infection.
To help fight off the infection the British government has donated £2m ($3 million) to the area.
While Cholera is regularly reported in the area this is the first time in years that it has managed to breakout to 10 of the areas 13 districts.