Iraq: Cholera outbreak west of Baghdad

Iraq: Cholera outbreak west of Baghdad
2 min read
21 September, 2015
A suspected cholera outbreak has killed four people in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, where vulnerable displaced populations have been affected by the lack of clean water.
This is the third cholera outbreak in Iraq in less than eight years [Getty]

A suspected cholera outbreak has killed four people west of Baghdad, where vulnerable displaced populations have been affected by the lack of clean water, health officials said.

The health ministry strongly suspects the deaths, which occurred in the Abu Ghraib area near Baghdad, were the result of a cholera outbreak first reported a week earlier.

"Last week, we announced that there 12 cases of cholera in Abu Ghraib and Najaf," health ministry spokesman Rifaq al-Araji said, referring to the holy Shia city south of the capital.

"Since then, other cases have appeared in Abu Ghraib, and the reason is water that is not suitable for drinking," he said.

"Some people are drinking directly from the (Euphrates) river and the wells. The river water is polluted because the level is too low," Araji explained.

"We now have four dead in Abu Ghraib in suspected cholera cases," he said, adding that official laboratory results would be known soon.

He said the minister had visited the hospital in Abu Ghraib, and that more medical staff were dispatched to the area and a crisis cell set up to deal with the outbreak.

Qutaiba al-Jubouri, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s health and environment committee, on Sunday called on the government to declare a state of emergency in the country because of the growing number of cases.

“This deadly epidemic requires the government to declare a state of emergency and to take all necessary measures to contain its outbreak as soon as possible,” Jubouri said, appealing to the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and humanitarian organisations to help the Iraqi government fight the outbreak.

This is the third cholera outbreak in Iraq in less than eight years, according to a WHO report.

After a short incubation period of two to five days, cholera causes severe diarrhoea, draining the body of its water.