Ukraine reports 14 cholera cases
Ukraine has reported to WHO 14 laboratory confirmed cases of cholera between 30 May and 6 June 2011 from Mariupol on the Azov Sea in Donetsk oblast. A local laboratory in Donetsk has confirmed Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1, biotype El Tor, serotype Ogawa as the causative agent in all cases.
On 30 May 2011, the National International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point (NFP) for Ukraine reported to WHO three laboratory confirmed cases of cholera from the Mariupol area. As of 6 June, 11 additional cases have been reported. Thus, the total figure reported to WHO now stands at 14 laboratory confirmed cases of cholera – in 13 adults and 1 child aged one-and-a-half.
The onset dates for these cases range from 24 May to 1 June 2011. All patients have been hospitalized and are in stable condition.
Response from Ministry of Health
On 2 June, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health established an emergency commission to investigate the cholera cases in the Mariupol area and prevent further cases. Although samples of food items (fish and other sea food), sea water, water from open reservoirs in Mariupol’s surroundings and sewage have been tested, the environmental investigation has not yet determined the source of infection.
In light of the cholera cases, the Ukrainian authorities have enhanced surveillance. Water and sanitation conditions are being improved by detecting unauthorized sewages, as well as through cleaning and disinfection of drainage ditches. Public information campaigns on hygiene and appropriate care for people infected with cholera are being organized. Local authorities have prohibited swimming and fishing in the surrounding Kal’chyk and Kalmius Rivers, as well as the Sea of Azov. Healthcare professionals have been asked to test all cases of diarrhoea coming to healthcare facilities.
WHO/Europe is in regular contact with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and is providing technical advice through its Regional and Country Office and WHO European Centre for Environment and Health in Rome, Italy. IHR National Focal Points in other countries are being informed of the situation.