2017-18 Zambia cholera outbreak

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Zambian Cholera Outbreak
Maps of Zambias Districts .jpg
Map of Zambia
Zambia Lusaka District.png
District Lusaka
Zambia - Lusaka.svg
<centre>Lusaka Province</centre>
Bacteria strainVibrio cholerae
DatesSeptember 28, 2017 – present
OriginChipata Compound, Lusaka
Confirmed cases3,077

The 2017-18 Zambian cholera outbreak in an on going epidemic of cholera affecting much of Zambia from October 2017 and become more lively in January. The outbreak began in Chipata compound and Kanyama compound of Lusaka city in October of 2017 then spread to most parts of the country by January of 2018. Cases were have been reported in 3 provinces.

The outbreak peaked in January 2018 with over 91 cases reported. In total, 2091 cases of cholera and 51 deaths have so far been reported, making this the fastest-growing outbreak in the history of the country. The large scale and severity of the outbreak has been attributed to poor sanitation and limited access to healthcare.


The 2017 cholera outbreak was caused by widespread infection with the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae which is spread through water contaminated with the feces of infected individuals. Cholera had been seen for decade leading up to the 2017 outbreak. One of the major contributing factors to the outbreak was the breakdown of the municipal water supply, sanitation and waste collection, but the resurgence in cases was due to consumtion of contaminated food, mostly from street vendors and markets.[1]


The cholera outbreak initially started in Chipata compoud of Lusaka. On 6 October 2017, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya announced the outbreak in the capital city.

From 28 September through 7 December 2017, 547 cases including 15 deaths were reported, giving a case fatality rate of 1.8%. The initial outbreak period was from 28 September through 20 October. From 21 October through 4 November 2017 there were less than five cases reported each week. However, from 5 November 2017 an increase in the number of cases was observed with a total of 136 cases reported in the week beginning 26 November. As of 7 December, the affected areas include Chipata, Kanyama, Chawama, Matero, Chilenje and Chelstone. Sixty-two cases are currently receiving treatment in Cholera Treatment Centres in Chipata, Kanyama, Matero and Bauleni. One third of the cases are children under five years old and two thirds are persons five years and older.

Efforts to reduce the cholera outbreak

On 29th December 2017 President Lungu[2] dispatched Zambia's security wings to help fight a cholera outbreak, which had already killed over 41 people in the capital city, and affected more than 1,500 others since September. In a Facebook post late on Friday, Lungu said "all three wings of the Defence Force" had been deployed "to escalate efforts" to minimise the spread of the disease.[1]

The first food outlet to be closed was hungry lion on January 4, 2018 after Vibro Cholera was found in the food samples taken at the three outlets Hungry lion at Levy Mall, Hungry Lion Cairo road and Hungry Lion Kulima Tower.[3]

Closure of Churches

The Catholic Church through the ADL Pastoral Coordinator Father Thomas Banda advised Catholics to stay away from funeral houses saying only a priest could go there for prayers.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church announced that it had cancelled all Church gatherings including Sabbath worship at its Lusaka Central Church on the 4th of January through its social medias while other churches in where closed down on the 6th of January.[4]

Closure of Schools

On January 2 the Minster of Health Chitalu Chilufya requested that all schools cholera has breaken out alredy should not reopen to avoid cross-contamination. [5] Both government and private schools were expected to reopen on January 15.

On 5th January 2018 the Registrar of UNZA Sitali Wamundila announced the indefinite closure of the institution owing to the cholera outbreak. In rhis statement Wamundila stated that UNZA would provide transport to all 10 provinces for those without means of getting home.[6]


WHO recommends proper and timely case management in Cholera Treatment Centres. Improving access to potable water and sanitation infrastructure, and improved hygiene and food safety practices in affected communities, are the most effective means of controlling cholera. Use of oral cholera vaccine may also be used for outbreak control. Key public health communication messages should be provided. WHO advises against any restriction to travel to and trade with Zambia based on the information available on the current outbreak.[7][8]

Also See


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