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16 dead in C.Africa cholera outbreak

By AFP

Added 13th August 2016 07:10 AM

A government toll on Tuesday had put the toll at 10 dead.

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A government toll on Tuesday had put the toll at 10 dead.

At least 16 people have died in the Central African Republic's first cholera outbreak in five years, UNICEF said on Friday.

The UN children's agency said 66 cases had been recorded along the Oubangui River since the government declared the outbreak on Wednesday.

A government toll on Tuesday had put the toll at 10 dead.

Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhoea.

"Young children, especially those under five years of age, are particularly vulnerable to this deadly disease," said UNICEF's representative in CAR, Mohammed Malick Fall.

The outbreak started in Djoukou, a remote area around 100 kilometres (62 miles) up the river from the capital Bangui.

"Communities in this area have little or no access to clean water and use the Oubangui river as their primary source of water," UNICEF said in a statement, adding that it was providing medicine, clean water and equipment to local residents.

"Affected people travelling in overcrowded boats have carried the bacteria downstream."

The last major outbreak of cholera in CAR, in 2011, left around 20 people dead around the capital.

Already one of the poorest countries on the planet, CAR is struggling to recover from a bloody two-year conflict that broke out in 2013 between mainly Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian vigilantes known as "anti-balaka" (anti-machete) militias.

The bloodletting left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes, according to the UN.

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