Mozambique on Monday declared a cholera outbreak in central Zambezia province, an official confirmed with no fatalities recorded.

Cholera was last recorded in the province in 2019.“Since the outbreak of acute diarrhoea started in Quelimane city, we have had a cumulative of 47 patients hospitalised,” the province director of health services, Óscar Haward, told journalists at a press conference.

In April, neighbouring Sofala province recorded 30 cholera cases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

It remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.

Cyclones may have contaminated food and water in Mozambique. Since the beginning of this year, the southern African country – along with the neighbouring ones – has been hit by five cyclones and the situation has left the population in need of large-scale humanitarian aid.

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world with most of its population living on less than $1 a day, and ranks 181st on the UN Human Development Index out of 189 countries.

Last week, Mozambique also declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus after confirming that a child in the country’s northeastern Tete province had contracted the disease.

According to the WHO Regional Office for Africa, this marked the second imported case of wild poliovirus in southern Africa this year, following an outbreak in Malawi in mid-February.

The lone case so far was the country’s first since 1992.

The infected child began experiencing onset of paralysis in late March.

Genomic sequencing analysis indicates that the newly confirmed case is linked to a strain that had been circulating in Pakistan in 2019, similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier this year, the WHO said.

Polio is transmitted mainly via contaminated water and food, or through contact form an infected person. The virus can cause paralysis, which is sometimes fatal.

Africa was declared free of indigenous wild polio in August 2020 after eliminating all forms of wild polio from the region.

Mozambique recently carried out two mass vaccination campaigns – in response to the Malawi outbreak – in which 4.2 million children were vaccinated against the disease.

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