Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo upgraded a cholera outbreak at a displaced persons camp in the country’s northeastern Ituri region to epidemic status on April 4. According to United Nations officials, 430 people in the camp were afflicted with cholera and 20 had died from it.
The first case of cholera in the camp was registered on March 26 and by April 1 the charity group Medecins sans frontiers/Doctors Without Borders said there had been 110 cases and 3 deaths. Only one of the fatalities was not at the camp, which houses 25,000 people. Health authorities reported 77 new cases of cholera on April 3.
Doctors Without Borders said the epidemic was expected to peak within two weeks and that the incubation period was between five and seven days.
Cholera is an intestinal infection caused by bacteria and often linked to contaminated drinking water.