LUANDA, Feb 21 (Reuters) Cholera has killed eight people and infected 40 others in the Southern African country of Angola, the World Health Organisation (WHO) today said.
The United Nations health agency said the cases of acute intestinal infection had been reported between Feb. 13 and Feb.
20 in Boavista, a poor shantytown north of the capital Luanda.
The provincial government of Luanda and the Angolan health ministry declared a cholera outbreak on Sunday after six deaths and 32 cases.
Cholera is a highly contagious disease transmitted by contaminated water or food or by contact with the excrement of a sick person. Its main symptoms include copious watery diarrhoea and vomiting which may cause serious dehydration and death.
The estimated 10,000 Boavista residents have no safe water supply and few latrines in an environment which WHO describes as ''totally unhealthy.'' The provincial government has created a cholera unit at the local health centre and is distributing chlorine solution and safe water.
The outbreak is being monitored by the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF as well as the international medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
Last year Angola, which like most African nations has a poor health system, had to confront an outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever and polio.
REUTERS MSJ RAI0037