Health officials confirmed 1428 cases of cholera in Beira (Sofala province) as of Tuesday, April 2, up from 517 on Sunday, March 31, as Mozambique continues to struggle with the effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai. A second death from cholera was reported in Dondo and the total number of fatalities from Idai in Mozambique now stands at 598. Further spread of cholera and other water- and vector-borne diseases are likely in the coming days and weeks, including acute diarrhea and malaria. Aid workers delivered 900,000 oral cholera vaccinations to Beira to help contain the outbreak. Beira has the highest risk of cholera though other areas in central Mozambique are at risk and may be harder for medical workers and supplies to reach.
Overland transportation is now possible from Maputo to Beira as floodwaters continue to recede. However, high water levels are still reported in Sofala and Zambezia provinces and transportation disruptions, including infrastructure damage and road closures, persist throughout central Mozambique. Around 2 million people are displaced in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe and around 3 million people are affected by the storm.
Tropical Cyclone Idai first made landfall in Mozambique on March 4 and moved over southern Malawi shortly after forming before moving back over the Mozambique Channel. It then strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane. Idai made its second landfall near Beira late on March 14 and moved inland over central Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe.
Cholera is typically spread via infected water supplies and induces acute diarrhea leading to severe dehydration, frequently resulting in death. The risk of death is greatest among people with compromised immune systems, such as malnourished children or those living with HIV. However, even among healthy adults, cholera can be fatal within a matter of hours.
Individuals in Mozambique, as well as Malawi and Zimbabwe, are advised to take preventative measures against the spread of disease, particularly cholera (e.g. drink bottled water, consume thoroughly cooked food, take vaccinations, etc.) and malaria (e.g. sleep with mosquito nets, take malaria medication, wear protective clothing during nighttime and dusk hours, etc.).Additionally, individuals should ensure adequate supplies of food, clean water, and medical supplies, anticipate flooding and associate transportation disruptions, limited access to healthcare and other basic necessities, and remember that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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