Cholera epidemic in Tanga (NE) Tanzania kills 12

Twelve people have died in a cholera epidemic in Tanzania over the past week, with most cases recorded in the north of the country, a health ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

Around 600 cases were reported in the east African country during the last seven days, but Handeni district in the northeastern region of  Tanga was hardest hit with 511 patients, spokesperson Nsachris Mwamaja told journalists. "The government is doing all it can to check further spread of the water-borne disease and treat patients by ensuring adequate supply of medicines," Mwamaja said.

Handeni District Commissioner Seif Mpembenwe said that schools in the area would remain closed until November 1. "We are glad that the situation is improving and the government's efforts have been welcomed by the people. We hope by the end of the month, our efforts will bear some positive results and students will resume their classes", said Mpembenwe.

Cholera can also be transmitted by food that has been in contact with sewage. It causes serious diarrhoea and vomiting leading to dehydration. With a short incubation period, it can be fatal if not treated in time.