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» 02.02.2010 - SA announces measles outbreak
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» 03.12.2009 - Algeria records three new swine flu deaths
» 05.11.2009 - Dengue epidemic paralyses Cape Verde
» 25.02.2005 - Cholera epidemic confirmed in Equatorial Guinea
» 26.06.2003 - Equatoguinean malaria project sponsored by oil industry

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Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea cholera epidemic spreads

afrol News, 4 March - According to unofficial sources, almost 2000 persons are already infected by the cholera outbreak in Equatorial Guinea. Residents claim that the government is not doing enough to treat the sick and are urging the international community to send humanitarian aid; medicines and health workers.

The outbreak of a cholera epidemic in Equatorial Guinea was only confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) one week ago, two weeks after the Equatoguinean opposition warned about an outbreak in the closed country. WHO officials only spoke of a local outbreak confined to the capital - Malabo, on Bioko island - with 15 deaths and 946 infected.

Equatoguinean residents now again however warn of a much larger cholera outbreak. Anonymous sources in the country - where no opposition voices are tolerated - report of "a rapidly expanding epidemic" with "close to 2000 infected persons." The outbreak had reached the entire island of Bioko and parts of the Río Muni mainland, including the regional capital Bata.

These 2000 cholera victims however only were those accommodated in the country's two public hospitals, in Malabo and Bata, the opposition sources say. It was unclear how many Equatoguineans outside those two cities had caught the deadly bacteria. In particular, there were concerns over the situation on the isolated island of Annobón, which almost was depopulated by a cholera epidemic only some decades ago.

- The hospital of Malabo is filled up with the sick, one resident writes in an e-mail appeal for international aid. "Already, there is no space to place the people and you can observe people with the epidemic in the corridor ... and outside the hospital," the letter from Malabo adds.

The government of Equatorial Guinea so far has been careful not to speak too much about the cholera epidemic. State media however have confirmed that around 50 persons have died from the water-borne disease, which is normally a result of lack of clean water or contamination of water sources. There are no data on how rural areas have been affected by the epidemic.

The Madrid-based exiled "government" of Equatorial Guinea today cried out for emergency aid to the Equatoguinean population. "Humanitarian aid is urgently needed," the exiled opposition said in a statement, adding that there was no hope for Malabo residents to get hand of needed medicines or medical treatment.

Neither the government nor the WHO has indicated the source of the current cholera outbreak. According to opposition sources in Malabo, however, the Elá Nguema township of the capital has been particularly affected and the Matadero River running through Elá Nguema has "turned into an authentic sewage."

The sanitation and sewerage systems of Malabo and other Equatoguinean towns have deteriorated strongly during the last decades and the government is frequently criticised for not investing its enormous oil revenues in social infrastructure.

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