World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned on Thursday that cholera has spread the border from Iraq to Iran. Cholera, which is continuing to spread within Iraq, can be carried by refugees and pilgrims, and through normal trade, even closing borders won’t stop the germ. Iraq shares borders with Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Some 60,000 Iraqis flee their homes each month and 2.2 million Iraqis have crossed into neighboring countries, mainly Syria and Jordan, according to the United Nations. It highlighted the need for Iraq’s neighboring countries to boost their defences against the deadly disease.Countries affected should stock up on intravenous fluids and oral rehydration salts to combat dehydration in victims.The UN agency said it did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions on Iraq.
Cholera has struck at least 3,315 people in Iraq since mid-August, killing at least 15. According to WHO global cholera coordinator Claire-Lise Chaignat, up to 10 cases have also been confirmed in Iran, near the Iraqi border.It was not clear whether these were Iraqi refugees or local Iranians, according to the Swiss expert, who warned the epidemic could threaten refugee camps in the region if not controlled.The majority of cases have been in northern Iraq, with some 2,300 reported in Kirkuk and 870 in Sulaimaniya and 15 people had died of cholera to date.However, the number of cholera deaths still remained low throughout the outbreak indicating that those who have become sick have been able to access adequate treatment on time.
According to WHO official, cholera normally thrives in lower temperatures and it could spread further in Iraq as the strong sun and heat which kill the germ subside. The overall quality of water and sanitation in Iraq is “very poor”, which greatly facilitates cholera contamination.The virulent disease is characterized by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhoea that in severe cases can cause death by dehydration and kidney failure within hours. It is transmitted mainly through contaminated water and food.