Cholera outbreak kills 250 in West Africa

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Cholera outbreak kills 250 in West Africa

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Aid agencies are warning that a cholera epidemic on the borders of Sierra Leone and Guinea is worsening.

French charity Médecins sans Frontières says more than 250 people have died across West Africa

Doctors say hygiene and sanitation in many slums and urban areas as well as the onset of the rainy season are to blame.

More than 13,000 people have been hospitalised since February.

“They are crying of cramps in their feet and even their hands are cramping. They are falling down, they have got dizziness. Some of them say: ‘I want to die, I’m tired, I’m tired of this disease.’ At the end of the day some of them die,” said Fatmata Kargbo, a nurse for Médecins sans Frontières.

Cholera spreads quickly through contaminated water or food causing severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

Since the last major epidemic in 2007, many people in the region have lost their immunity to the disease.

Medical teams are opening additional treatment centres in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown and Conakry in Guinea.

Doctors estimate that with proper treatment fewer than one percent of cholera patients should die. Vaccines are not the only solution to prevent outbreaks, experts say that poor living conditions must also be tackled.