The number of cholera cases confirmed in Beira has increased to 271 as of Saturday, March 30, following severe flooding associated with Cyclone Idai's passage through the region in mid-March. Many of the cases confirmed have been reported over the last few days. Though aid and government workers are attempting to contain the outbreak, the disease is likely to spread over the coming days as roads to several areas hit by Idai remain impassable as of Saturday.
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 or planning travel to the affected areas are strongly advised to take preventive measures against cholera transmission (e.g. receive cholera vaccinations, drink only bottled water, and consume only thoroughly cooked foods). Additionally, ensure adequate supplies of food, clean water, and medical supplies, anticipate flooding and associated transportation disruptions (including due to road closures), limited access to healthcare services, 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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