Vaccinations against cholera begin in Yemen

Vaccinations against cholera begin in Yemen
The World Health Organization has shipped vaccines to the war-torn country in a bid to avoid a catastrophic resurgence of the disease.
2 min read
There are more than one million suspected cases of cholera in Yemen [Getty]
The first vaccine campaign against cholera in Yemen has started in a bid to avert a deadly resurgence of the disease.

The oral vaccination campaign began in four districts in Aden on Sunday targeting 350,000 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, coinciding with the rainy season, which health workers fear could spread the disease further.

"The first four districts are being targeted ... and then the campaign will move towards all the areas at risk in the country, covering at least four million people," Lorenzo Pizzoli, WHO cholera expert, said in a tweet posted on Sunday.

Since the initial outbreak a year and half ago, triggered by the war and worsening humanitarian crisis, there have been more than one million suspected cases of cholera, and 2,275 recorded deaths, the WHO says.

Researchers on Friday said the country risks a resurgence  of the disease, which they estimated could affect 13.8 million people, and urged health authorities to "immediately" boost measures to mitigate an outbreak, The Lancet Global Health reported.

The disease is spread by faeces in sewage contaminating water or food, and it can kill because patients quickly become dehydrated through vomiting and diarrhea.

Caught early it can be treated with oral rehydration salts.

Some 10,000 people have been killed since March 2015 in the conflict between Saudi-backed pro-government forces and Houthi rebels.

The war has also displaced more than 2 million people, and fewer than half of health facilities are still functioning.