Cholera has killed 110 people in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, prompting the impoverished southern African country to declare a disease alert, Health Minister Brian Chituwo said.
Chituwo told Parliament late Wednesday that 110 people had died of the disease since cholera was first reported on Nov. 28.
Cholera can kill within hours if not properly treated.
“Cholera has been a source of concern and as at January 28 (2004), Lusaka alone has recorded 2,482 cholera cases ... 80 people died at health institutions and the other 30 were taken to health centers already dead,” Chituwo said.
A senior health official told Reuters that several more people had died in rural parts of Zambia.
Often caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, the water-borne disease is a seasonal problem in southern African during the summer rains.
Victims usually suffer acute diarrhea and vomiting, which can cause severe dehydration and death within hours without treatment. Treatment usually involves rehydration and can include antibiotics.
Authorities in neighboring Mozambique have said around 10 people have died out of more than 3,000 people diagnosed with cholera since December, and said the outbreak there was expected to peak in February.