Cholera Is Coming
The last great epidemic of Vibrio cholerae to hit Africa and the Middle East occurred from 1997 to 1998. Over 200,000 people were afflicted and some 8,000 killed as the disease spread from southern Mozambique all the way up to the Horn of Africa and into the Middle East. Now cholera is back. And this time it could be much worse.
As in 1997, today’s outbreak, which is unfolding in the Middle East and East Africa, is growing during an El Niño climate event that is shifting the planet’s normal rain and drought patterns, spreading the waterborne cholera bacteria. But this year’s outbreak has dangerous added dimensions: Its spread is fueled by war throughout the Middle East, the existence of vast ungoverned and poorly governed tracts of the region, and an enormous refugee crisis.
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