Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Cholera in Iraq

8 May 2003

Disease Outbreak Reported

Seventeen cases of acute watery diarrhoeal syndrome have been notified in 2 hospitals in Basra, southern Iraq, since April 28. According to the initial laboratory analysis in Basra, cholera is highly probable. Further laboratory confirmation with serotyping is awaited.

WHO staff in the field have already set up a surveillance system. They are currently conducting a survey of diarrhoeal cases in other hospitals, and have established an outbreak committee that is implementing control measures using pre-positioned supplies.

Due to the current security situation and difficulties experienced in restoring safe water supplies to the population, a larger cholera epidemic is predicted.

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