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Yemen at risk of third cholera epidemic

War-ravaged Yemen is teetering on the brink of a third cholera epidemic, the World Health Organization warned Friday.
Cholera cases are increasing near the capital, Sanaa, and the major port city of Hodeidah, where recent conflict has hindered WHO's efforts to prevent the disease.
"We've had two major waves of cholera epidemics in recent years, and unfortunately the trend data that we've seen in the last days to weeks suggests that we may be on the cusp of the third major wave of cholera epidemics in Yemen," Dr. Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, told a UN briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

Yemen may become -- or already be -- the "poster child" for the overlap of disease outbreaks and war as the nation struggles with cholera and diphtheria, Salama said. Many Yemenis are also already weakened by malnutrition.
More than 1.1 million suspected cholera cases have been recorded in Yemen since April 2017, according to the latest WHO figures, with more than 2,300 associated deaths.
The warning of another epidemic came a day after airstrikes in Hodeidah -- which has been under assault by a Saudi-led international coalition fighting Houthi rebels -- hit a busy fish market and the entrance to the country's largest hospital, Al-Thawra.
It remained unclear Friday how many people lost their lives in the attack.
WHO, which provides funding to the hospital, said Thursday that at least 14 people were killed and 30 injured in the attack, with those numbers expected to rise. Aid agency CARE International said Friday that at least 20 people had been killed and at least 50 injured.

 

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