10 September 2007 – More than 7,000 cases of acute diarrhea have so far been reported in the cholera epidemic in northern Iraq, putting over 2.8 million people at risk from exposure to the infectious and sometimes fatal disease, according to the United Nations health agency.
It is unclear what caused the outbreak, but initial investigation show some evidence that, in Sulemaniya, polluted water that residents were forced to rely on due to a shortage of drinking water may have been to blame. In Kirkuk, cracked water pipes allowed contamination by sewage, and because of the close geographic proximity the outbreak spread to Erbil, WHO Technical officer Omer Mekki said.
WHO is providing technical assistance to the health authorities for risk assessment, strengthening surveillance system and improving coordination through a multi-sectoral operations room in health, water and environment in the provincial ministry of health?
The agency has also helped in standardizing case management, mobilizing medical and other essential supplies as well as in organizing social mobilization and health education campaigns where more than 10,000 posters distributed