Authorities in Houthi-controlled territory have sterilized the Sana'a water supply as of early December to curb increasing rates of new cholera infections. Committees are attempting to sterilize water sources, including wells and tanks, and pipes in neighborhoods with recently reported infections. As of late November, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported an increase in transmissions, with 10,000 new cases reported each week, approximately double the infection rate for the first eight months of the year. Further spread of the disease is likely.
Yemen has been engaged in a complex and deadly conflict since 2015 between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels. It is also experiencing an ongoing cholera outbreak, with over 250,000 suspected cases since the beginning of 2018 resulting in at least 350 deaths. Children and the malnourished are most susceptible to the disease.
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium that can induce acute diarrhea. 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 planning travel to or in Yemen are strongly advised to receive cholera vaccinations. It is also advised to stock up on food and bottled water, and conserve water as much as possible.
The security environment throughout the country remains complex, and due to poor security conditions, most Western governments strongly advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place, and professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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