BAGHDAD, Sep 22 (Reuters) A case of cholera has been confirmed in southern Iraq, a senior health official said today, raising fears the virulent water-borne disease is spreading through the country.
The vast majority of Iraq's 1,500 cases are in the north but cholera has been confirmed in Baghdad this week and now near Basra in the south.
Health Ministry Inspector-General Adil Muhsin told Reuters the latest case was a 7-month-old girl from Mudeyna, near Basra, who contracted the disease from drinking water.
Cholera, mainly transmitted through contaminated water and food, can cause death within hours from dehydration and kidney failure.
The UN's World Health Organisation this week confirmed the first case of cholera in Baghdad, a 25-year-old woman.
Ill-equipped medical facilities and hospitals will hamper efforts to rein in the outbreak around Kirkuk in the north, which the WHO describes as an epidemic.
About 75 per cent of people infected with cholera do not develop any symptoms but the pathogens stay in their faeces for up to two weeks.
REUTERS SBC KP1942