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Some Guinean Residents Seek Cholera Vaccine; Outbreak In Sierra Leone Winding Down

With nearly 6,000 reported cholera cases, including more than 100 deaths, Guinea is facing the worst cholera outbreak since 2007, and “some residents of the capital Conakry are clamoring to be vaccinated,” IRIN reports. “The cholera vaccine has shown promising results in the handful of communities where it has been used: none of those vaccinated have been infected,” the news service writes, noting, “For now cholera vaccination is not generally done on a large scale.” According to IRIN, “WHO and partner agencies are planning a cholera vaccine stockpile for epidemic control and looking at the possibility of introducing the two-dose oral vaccine into national immunization programs in endemic areas,” but the agency also “says such stockpiles should not detract from other prevention efforts: detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cases with oral rehydration and antibiotics; establishment of a safe water supply; implementation of adequate waste disposal, sanitation, and hygiene; and communication and social mobilization.”

“Neighboring Sierra Leone is facing its worst cholera epidemic since 1995, with 15,834 cases, including 251 deaths as of 3 September, according to [the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)],” IRIN reports (9/13). However, a statement from the government released on Wednesday said, “The improved partnership and cooperation between government and development partners, including other stakeholders, and the effective management of cases, has resulted in a reduction in cholera cases throughout the country.” The statement notes that a National General Cleaning exercise has been scheduled for the end of September “as a means of maintaining a clean and healthy environment.” In addition, “UNICEF is providing litter bins for markets in Freetown, while mobile telephone companies are currently working towards constructing more public toilets in Freetown as part of their corporate social responsibilities,” the statement said (9/12).