Erin Taylor 267.250.8829 (M)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Oct. 12, 2017) — Yemen’s cholera outbreak will reach more than a
million cases by Christmas at current rates, including at least 600,000
the Children is warning.
epidemic has already spread faster than any outbreak of cholera since modern
records began – and is now the largest in recent history.
About 4,000 suspected cases are still being reported every day,
more than half of them children under the age of 18. Of those infected, 25 percent of cases are children under the age of five.
As of October 10, the World Health Organization has reported
815,314 suspected cases and 2,156 deaths across Yemen since April 27. That
means the outbreak has today surpassed the 815,000 cases reported over seven
years in Haiti. In Yemen, it has reached that level in less than six
months. At current rates, Save the Children estimates the
total caseload is likely to break one million by December.
“Cholera has been around in Yemen for a
long time, but we’ve never seen an outbreak of this scale or speed. It’s what
you get when a country is brought to its knees by conflict, when a healthcare
system is on the brink of collapse, when its children are starving, and when
its people are blocked from getting the medical treatment they need,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen.
“There’s no doubt this is a man-made
crisis. Cholera only rears its head when there’s a complete and total breakdown
in sanitation. All parties to the conflict must take responsibility for the
health emergency we find ourselves in.”
research by Save the
Children found that there are more than one million acutely malnourished
children under the age of five living in areas where cholera infection levels
are high. Children with acute malnutrition are at least three times more likely
to die from diarrheal diseases like cholera.
diseases like cholera are also themselves a leading cause of malnutrition –
raising fears that even if children survive the outbreak they could be
pushed further toward starvation.
unacceptable that children are trapped in a brutal cycle of starvation and
sickness. We are dealing with a horrific scenario of babies and young
children who are not only malnourished but also infected with
cholera,” Kirolos added.
“The tragedy is both
malnutrition and cholera are easily treatable if you have access
to basic healthcare. But hospitals have been destroyed, 30,000 public sector
health workers haven't been paid for almost a year, and the delivery of vital
aid is being obstructed. The world must act now to prevent more children from
dying from an entirely preventable illness.”
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