MOGADISHU, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- An outbreak of cholera/ acute watery diarrhea (AWD) in Somalia has killed 42 people since December, a UN health agency said on Thursday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest report on the AWD/cholera outbreak that the Somali health ministry has also announced 29 new cases of cholera between Sept. 24 and 30. Among them, 45 percent were five years old or below.
The cumulative total of cases is 6,423, including 42 associated deaths, since the beginning of the current outbreak in December 2017, said the UN health agency.
Cholera is a gastrointestinal disease, usually spread by contaminated water and food, and can cause severe diarrhea that, in extreme cases, can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours.
According to WHO, there has been a downward trend in newly reported cases over the past six weeks.
The UN health agency has called for robust investments in Somalia's fragile health care infrastructure as a means to accelerate the country's reconstruction after two and a half decades of civil strife.
WHO, which has been training several health workers in Somalia to help cope with the diseases, also urged greater investments in surveillance infrastructure to enhance timely response to disease outbreaks in Somalia.