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article imageCholera breaks out in Kenya's refugee camp

By Samuel Okocha     Nov 16, 2011 in Health
The United Nations has a fresh humanitarian challenge to grapple with after it announced the outbreak of cholera in the world's largest refugee camp in Kenya, Dadaab where nearly 500,000 Somalis are seeking refuge.
"There are now 60 cholera cases in the camps, including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death," Reuters quotes spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, Andrej Mahecic as telling newsmen.
Cholera is said to be endemic in Somalia and Mahecic says refugees who had recently arrived from there may have contracted the disease by drinking unsafe water from areas flooded by heavy rains.
Cholera causes watery diarrhea and severe dehydration. If not treated, the acute intestinal infection transmitted in contaminated water can kill within hours.
To help stem the outbreak, Mahecic said cholera treatment centers have been set up in the camp for severe cases. He added that UNHCR and other agencies are also promoting safe hygiene practices.
Oral re-hydration solutions are used to manage most cases, reports Reuters.
More challenges
As heavy rains and the risk of waterborne diseases worsen conditions in the camps, lack of security is reportedly affecting aid efforts.
Last month three Western aid workers where kidnapped from the Dadaab complex of five camps, prompting the deployment of one hundred additional Kenyan police in the past month.
Kenya says it has taken measures to protect the country against Somalia's al-Shabaab rebels following abductions on Kenyan soil.
The Kenyan governemnt has since vowed to pursue members of the group right inside Somalia.
More about Kenya, dadaab, Cholera outbreak, Somalia refugees
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