As of mid-November, the World Health Organization (WHO) has registered at least 857 deaths among the more than 25,000 recorded cholera cases since the beginning of 2018. The disease is present in 21 of DRC's 26 provinces and rates of infection are increasing in Tanganyika, South Kivu, Lomami, Kasai, and Haut-Katanga. According to the WHO, additional cases are expected in the next six months.
The WHO's figures on cholera in DRC are more conservative than those of the Congolese Ministry of Health, which had announced 38,000 cases (over 880 deaths) as of mid-October.
Cholera, an infectious disease caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, is endemic to the DRC and has become a major public health issue throughout the country since the outbreak began in 2017. Cholera is typically spread via infected water supplies and induces acute diarrhea leading to severe dehydration, frequently resulting in death.
To reduce the risk of contracting cholera, wash hands regularly, drink only bottled or purified water, and avoid eating raw or undercooked foods. Individuals who believe they may have contracted cholera should seek immediate medical attention.