Weekly Regional Cholera Bulletin: 22 March 2023

Cholera in the WHO African Region: Weekly Regional Cholera Bulletin: 22 March 2023

The cholera outbreak in the WHO African Region continues to evolve, with 13 countries currently reporting cases. The concurrent climate-induced natural disasters such as cyclone and flooding in the southern African region (Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe) and drought in the Horn of Africa (Kenya) threatens to impede the progress made in controlling the ongoing outbreaks in the region. In week 11, there has been a modest increase of 1.1 % in incidence, with 5022 new cases reported from eight countries compared to 4967 cases registered in week 10. The observed regional uptick was driven by upsurges in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Conversely, there was a 46% increase in deaths reported during the same period, with 89 deaths occurring in week 11 compared to 61 deaths in week 10 of 2023.

Cumulatively, 140 427 suspected cholera cases have been reported, including 3193 deaths (case fatality ratio (CFR = 2.3%)) as of 21 March 2023 (Table 1). Malawi accounts for 39% (54 839) of the total cases and 53% (1684) of all deaths reported, and together with Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon, contribute to 85% (119 240) of the overall caseload and for 92% (2946) of cumulative deaths.

The cholera outbreak in Cameroon started in October 2021, while Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria reported cholera outbreaks in the first quarter of 2022. Kenya, Mozambique, and Ethiopia reported their outbreaks between August and October 2022, while Burundi, Zambia, United Republic of Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and South Sudan reported cholera outbreaks between January and March 2023. No new country has reported a cholera outbreak in the past week.