From: Nafi Diouf, Reuters
Published November 3, 2004 12:00 AM

Senegal's Cholera Epidemic Spreads with 400 Cases, Two Fatal

DAKAR, Senegal — A cholera epidemic in the capital of this West African nation was spreading Tuesday, with 400 cases reported and two deaths so far, health officials said.

The figure is up from 84 cases reported Oct. 26. The first case was diagnosed Oct. 11.

While more cases are expected, doctors were optimistic about checking the spread of the waterborne disease soon.

"This is the normal evolution of an epidemic," said Dr. Papa Salif Sow, head of infectious diseases at Dakar's Fann teaching hospital. "The preventive measures we are currently taking will help us reduce the speed at which the disease is spreading."

Authorities have embarked on a radio and television campaign urging residents to be diligent about hygiene, washing hands and food items carefully.

Officials also have banned the usual street sales of fruit juices and water.

The epidemic is still mainly present in the capital, Dakar. Two cases have been reported in Bambey, 123 (76 miles) kilometers north of Dakar, Sow said.

Cholera is mainly contracted through contaminated food or water.

Epidemics are linked to poor hygiene, overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, and unsafe water. It attacks the intestine and can cause death by severe dehydration from diarrhea.

The last cholera outbreak in Senegal in 1996 killed 201 people.

Source: Reuters

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