By Emma Batha
LONDON, Oct 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The World Health Organization and other agencies will launch an ambitious plan on Wednesday to slash cholera deaths by 90 percent by 2030 and eventually consign the disease to the history books.
Here are some facts:
- Cholera affects more than 40 countries across the globe, resulting in an estimated 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths every year.
- It is spread by consuming food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
- Cholera causes acute watery diarrhoea and vomiting, which can lead to extreme dehydration and cause death within hours.
- As many as 1.2 billion people - or one in six - are at risk globally.
- On average cholera costs the world an estimated $2 billion a year in treatment and hospitalisation as well as loss to productivity.
- The disease occurs where people lack access to clean water and hygienic toilets.
- Outbreaks often occur after natural disasters or during humanitarian emergencies.
- In Yemen, the most explosive outbreak on record has caused nearly 700,000 suspected cases and more than 2,000 deaths since late April.
- There have also been recent outbreaks in Nigeria, Haiti and Democratic Republic of Congo.
- WHO-approved oral cholera vaccines cost $6 per person, offering protection for up to three years.
- The new global plan focuses on tackling cholera hotspots, where outbreaks occur at the same time each year, by improving water and sanitation services, and through use of oral vaccines.
- The strategy could help eliminate cholera in 20 affected countries by 2030, according to the WHO.
- India is the worst affected country with more than 675,000 cases a year, according to the charity WaterAid. It also has the greatest number of people living without access to clean water, and the most living without a decent toilet.
- Ethiopia and Nigeria, which follow in second and third place, also have the second and third highest number of people living without clean water.
- Other countries in the top 10 are Haiti, DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh, Uganda and Mozambique.
Sources: WHO and WaterAid
(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)
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