Zimbabwe Cholera Outbreak Now Infects 60K

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2009 7:17 AM CST
A woman suspected to be suffering from cholera, is transported in a wheelbarrow to a clinic for treatment, in Harare, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic has now infected more than 60,000 people, a number the World Health Organization had previously pegged as the “worst case scenario,” the BBC reports. More than 3,000 have died from the disease since its August outbreak, and with Zimbabwe’s water, sanitation, and health systems in tatters, the crisis “showed no signs of abating,” the WHO said.

Political unrest has left Zimbabwe with nearly worthless currency, causing many hospitals to shut down. Towns are plagued by poor water supplies, broken sewers, and uncollected waste, and aid workers fear the upcoming rainy season will make matters even worse. “We are dealing with an extraordinary public health crisis that requires from us all an extraordinary emergency response,” said one UN doctor.