Algeria Confirms 41 Cases of Cholera

Rabat – Algeria has confirmed that 41 cholera cases have been reported in Algiers and nearby areas since mid-August.Health authorities announced the number on Thursday, August 23.According to France 24, one of the infected patients has died, while dozens of other patients are waiting for test results. Algeria’s Ministry of Health said that the cholera cases are results of bad food and improper hygiene.Health authorities’ delay in announcing the outbreak of the disease sparked outrage among Algerian citizens.A correspondent for France 24’s sister station RFI in Algeria, Leila Beratto, told France24 that the Ministry of Health has been “accused of negligence” as the minister of health linked the cases with food poisoning.“In a press conference on August 20, authorities confirmed that these were cases of gastroenteritis,” said Berrato.The journalist said that when a man died on August 23, the official story on the outbreak was “still food poisoning.”Doctors working in Algerian hospitals, according to France24, confirmed that cholera cases were detected a week ago.Quoting a tweet by a doctor of infectious illnesses, France 24 wrote: “The infectious diseases department at Boufarik [30km southwest of Algiers] received confirmation of cholera cases six days ago.… The alert was given but the ministry didn’t move. It’s very serious.” The same health expert added that “doctors who suspected two cases at Ain Bessem [in southeast Algiers] treated the patients as if they had cholera, and took the samples and sent them to the Pasteur Institute in Algeria. But it’s not up to the doctors to make the declaration, it’s up to the [health] ministry.”Cholera is an infectious illness that results when the cholera bacteria gets into the intestine. The disease causes severe diarrhea, which can cause dehydration and death if untreated.Morocco on alertAlgeria’s neighbor, Morocco, will take measures to raise awareness of the risk of cholera emerging in the kingdom.An anonymous source told Le360 that the Moroccan minister of health, Anas Doukkali, has instructed his ministry on health monitoring systems to detect possible cases of cholera. The source added that no case of cholera has been recorded in Morocco since 1997.The source also said, “No sign of unusual health with gastroenteritis has been detected in the regions of Morocco.”The risk of a cholera outbreak in Morocco is low, added the source.

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