Cholera is an annual problem during the rainy months of November to March in Malawi, but the current outbreak is expected to be the worst yet.

Malawi has postponed the opening of public schools in the two major cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe, the health minister said on Monday, to try to slow a wave of cholera deaths.

The total number of cases has risen to 17,824 and the number of deaths to 595 since the first reports in March, with the death rate rising to 3.34 percent, the health ministry said.

Cholera is an annual problem during the rainy months from November to March in Malawi, when the number of deaths is around 100 per year. But the current outbreak is expected to be the worst yet.

“Due to the continued rise in cholera cases and deaths in the towns of Blantyre and Lilongwe, primary and secondary schools in the two towns will not open on January 3 as previously advised,” Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said in a statement.

A new reopening date will be announced later, she said.

The United Nations health agency says death rates are rising in about 30 countries around the world that reported cholera outbreaks in 2022, about a third higher than in a normal year.

Cholera is spread through contaminated food or water and can cause acute diarrhea. Many people have mild symptoms, but it can be fatal within hours if left untreated.

Victims in Malawi include medics in public health centers.

Chiponda called on authorities to tighten control measures, including spraying chlorine to disinfect congested places such as markets and schools, and stepping up vaccinations.



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By wy9m6

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