May 11, 2017 / 3:48 PM / 4 months ago

Yemen's cholera outbreak kills 51 people in two weeks: WHO

Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), visits patients at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

DUBAI (Reuters) - A cholera outbreak in Yemen has killed 51 people since April 27, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, more than double the toll of 25 reported three days ago.

WHO said there are 2,752 suspected cholera cases and 58 more people have been confirmed as having the diarrheal disease.

A epidemic late last year faded but outbreaks are frequent and made worse by the degrading of health and sanitation systems by more than two years of civil war that has also killed at least 10,000 people and displaced millions.

Only a few medical facilities are still functioning and two-thirds of the population are without access to safe drinking water, the United Nations has said.

The capital Sanaa was worst hit, with 34.6 percent of the cases, followed by the surrounding province with 12 percent, the data showed. Cases were also reported in Yemen’s other major cities: Hodeidah, Hajjah, Ibb, Taiz and Aden.

WHO said that 7.6 million people live in areas at high risk of cholera transmission.

Although most sufferers have no symptoms or mild symptoms that can be treated with oral rehydration solution, in more severe cases the disease can kill within hours if not treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Yemen’s conflict pits the Houthi movement and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh against the Saudi-led military coalition backing the internationally recognized government.

Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by William Maclean and Louise Ireland

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