Iraq confirms 13 cholera cases, scores suspected
'Around 4,000 cases of diarrhea and vomiting have been recorded in Sulaimaniyah hospitals'
A cholera outbreak in Iraq infected at least 13 people and scores more suspected cases were sent for analysis, most from the northern Kurdistan region, health officials said Sunday.
"Ten cases of cholera have been recorded in the province" of Sulaimaniyah, said Sabah Hawrami, district health chief in the autonomous Kurdistan region.
Another 56 suspected cases from the same province are being analyzed by a central laboratory in the capital Baghdad -- the only one able to provide the diagnosis.
The health ministry said one case was registered in Kirkuk province, neighboring Sulaimaniyah, while two were recorded in the southern province of Muthanna.
No deaths were registered.
"Around 4,000 cases of diarrhea and vomiting have been recorded in Sulaimaniyah hospitals" in the past six days, Hawrami told a press conference.
The provincial capital of Sulaimaniyah counts around one million people.
"Cholera is a terrible illness but can be easily treated. We can save lives in a matter of hours," he added.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that is treatable with antibiotics and hydration but can kill within hours without medical attention.
It is caused by a germ that is typically transmitted by poor sanitation. People become infected when they swallow food or water carrying the bug.
According to the World Health Organization, researchers estimate that annually there are between 1.3 million and four million cases of cholera worldwide, leading to between 21,000 and 143,000 deaths.