Cholera epidemic in Congo begins to decline

The number of people infected with the novel Cholera virus is falling in Eastern Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Congo’s Department of Health and Social Affairs reported a fall of 9% from the normal number of 35,503 to a low of 27,849 on Aug 1.

The decrease in the number of cases prompted it to recommend that people living in border regions and vulnerable communities stay at home.

“We recommend against all non-essential travel since we assess a possible outbreak impending (…) particularly in border areas,” the WHO’s regional office for North and Central Africa said.

The real figure of 27,849 is much smaller than the WHO’s report on Aug 1, which reported 185,589 confirmed infections.

A spokesman for Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga told Reuters the WHO report had not been updated since last week when it also reported a fall in cases in the same department, with the total number of cases now at 48,153.

“This number of decreases indicates the need for widespread prevention of old and sick people,” Ilunga declined to identify the report’s authors.

Clinics in high-risk areas such as Inaka in the west and Ituri in the north have been unable to find alternative treatment, according to local radio station 3FM on Tuesday.