Cholera in Sierra Leone (Update 24 August 2012)

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24 August 2012 -- Since the beginning of the year, Sierra Leone has recorded 12 456 cases of cholera, with 224 deaths (Case Fatality Rate of 1.8%). The rate of new cases has accelerated rapidly since the beginning of August. Ten of the country’s 13 districts are now registering cases with Western Area and Port Loko being the most affected.

The President of Sierra Leone has declared the escalating cholera epidemic a “humanitarian crisis”. Consequently, a multi-sectoral approach to the response has been adopted involving the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), as well as other line ministries such as finance information and communication, and local government, together with partners and stakeholders. The  “Presidential Cholera Task Force” held its first meeting on 23 August 2012.

The National Emergency Task force continues to meet every Thursday to review progress and guide the technical  sub-committees dealing with surveillance, case management, water and sanitation, logistics and social mobilization. The MOHS, in partnership with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), UNICEF, WHO, and other partners, is implementing the following prevention and control activities: epidemiological investigation, surveillance, case management at established cholera treatment centres, water and sanitation control measures, social mobilization and community education.

WHO continues to support  Sierra Leone in the areas of epidemiology, social mobilization and surveillance. WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Sierra Leone.