Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 June 2019

Algeria: Dozen of cholera cases now 'under control'

Health authorities confirmed second death, blaming lack of hygiene and sanitation

A hospital staff treats a patient inside the hospital of Boufarik, Algeria, 26 August 2018. EPA
A hospital staff treats a patient inside the hospital of Boufarik, Algeria, 26 August 2018. EPA

Algerian authorities announced that the outbreak of cholera in the country is "under control," as panic among residents spread after two people had died.

The health ministry said on Tuesday that 56 cases of the epidemic have been confirmed out of 138 suspected cases in the capital Algiers and its surrounding areas, but confirmed that the "situation is under control".

The majority of the cases were linked to a lack of sanitation and poor hygiene, Health Minister Mokhtar Hasbellaoui said. He also denied reports that the outbreak is due to contaminated water.

Mr Hasbellaoui urged the population to take prevention measures.

“A 77-year-old woman died on Friday night and the tests proved that the cause of death was due to cholera,” the head of preventative diseases at the Algerian Ministry of Health, Jamal Furar, said on Saturday.

The highest number of cholera cases were treated in Blida province, 50 kilometres south of Algiers, where 50 people have been admitted for suspected symptoms and 22 cases have been confirmed, according to the heath ministry.

The suspected cases are currently in isolation at different hospitals and patients are receiving the necessary medical treatment.

But panic has been reported among citizens in Algiers after authorities delayed the announcement of the outbreak.

They accused Mr Hasbellaoui of negligence and blamed the government for its inability to control the deadly epidemic.

Meanwhile, authorities rejected trade union calls to delay the start of the new school year because of the outbreak confirming that situation is under control.

Speaking after a hospital visit on Sunday, Mr Hasbellaoui confirmed that the outbreak would be eradicated within days.

He said he understood the concerns of education-sector unions but added that he does not share them and that the school calendar would be respected.

The last major outbreak of cholera happened in 1986, but the country has had no reported cases of the epidemic since 1996.

Updated: August 28, 2018 08:29 PM