Outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea spreadsPhoto | Children affected with acute watery diarrhoea in Beletweyne Hospital /Photo/ Abdullahi/Ergo
Somalia, 26 March 2013: The Health Department of the Ministry of Social Services and Human Development has officially confirmed cases of Acute Watery Diarhoea (AWD) in parts of the country. The Ministry said the AWD outbreak had claimed seven lives, and infected more than 200 people. Some of those infected are in critical condition.
Dr Abdirizak Yusuf Ahmed, Director of the Health Department, said AWD was spreading in southern regions. The areas worst hit include Mogadishu, Badhadhe district in the Lower Juba region, Beletweyne in Hiran region, Jowhar in Middle Shabelle, and Bursalah village of Goldogob district in Mudug region in central Somalia.
Doctors say the majority of those affected are children.
Health workers say the outbreak is being spread through the drinking of contaminated water. People are made especially vulnerable by a generally poor nutritional status.
AWD is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with a bacterium carried in human feces and spread through poor sanitation, and lack of awareness. The symptoms are severe diarrhoea that can lead to dehydration and death if left untreated.
Somali doctors generally rely on their knowledge and experience of classic symptoms of certain diseases, as medical laboratory facilities are largely ill equipped and therefore unable to identify certain diseases.