Meningitis, measles, cholera afflict south Chad: Red Cross

5th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

An epidemic of meningitis, measles and cholera in south Chad was stretching emergency services to the limit, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Tuesday.

Since March 18, about 109 people have died and 2,300 cases of meningococcal meningitis recorded, "affecting half the districts in Chad at an alarming rate", the IFRC said in a statement.

"This epidemic is accompanied by cases of measles which have appeared in almost the same region."

The IFRC said the situation was further exacerbated in the impoverished Bongor region, "where a serious cholera epidemic left 1,500 people ill and 30 confirmed dead."

Local emergency services were "overstretched", and the health ministry has called for support from humanitarian organisations, said the statement.

"We must act quickly to fight cholera and meningitis, especially since we are in a season when temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius, combined with the abundance of mangoes that children pick up and eat without washing, with no attention to hygiene, as well as the rainy season in May, all aggravating the situation," Chadian Red Cross official Dr Zeneba Mourba said.

"It is therefore urgent to act now to save the lives of these children who have no alternatives and are not able to protect themselves from these epidemics."

The World Health Organisation, Doctors Without Borders and the IFRC will conduct vaccination campaigns, the statement said.

© 2011 AFP

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