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Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2009
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

Perspective Addresses Burden of Cholera in Africa


An invited 'Perspective' on cholera in Africa, coauthored by CDC's Dr. Eric Mintz, leader of the Diarrheal Diseases Epidemiology Team in the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, will appear in the upcoming edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.


"A Lion in Our Village – The Unconscionable Tragedy of Cholera in Africa" details the burden of cholera in Zimbabwe and other surrounding African countries in the past year. Rarely seen in the United States, cholera used to be endemic in South Asia before oral rehydration therapy was introduced and reduced the fatality rate from 30 percent to less than 1 percent. After a century long absence, a cholera epidemic in Latin America in the 1990s was met with swift investment in drinking water, sanitation and health care.

The sanitation and treatment revolutions have not made the same progress in Africa, where there have been more than 73,000 cases and 3,500 deaths due to Cholera since November 2008 in just Zimbabwe alone. The epidemic shows no signs of slowing and has spread to other countries adding on thousand of more cases.

Dr. Eric Mintz, leader of CDC's Diarrheal Diseases Epidemiology Team and Dr. Richard L. Guerrant, Director of the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, point to a lack of basic health care services and supplies as the underlying causes of spread of the epidemic. A waterborne disease, cholera is result of inadequate treatment of sewage or drinking water.


"A Lion in Our Village – The Unconscionable Tragedy of Cholera in Africa" will come off embargo Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 5 p.m.


You can access the Perspective at


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