UN: More than 2,200 people infected with cholera in Iraq

Most cases recorded in the suburbs of Baghdad and in the provinces of Babil (Babylon)

Baku. 7 November. REPORT.AZ/ The disease, which can lead to death by dehydration and kidney failure within hours if left untreated, was detected west of Baghdad in September and has since infected at least 2,200 people in Iraq and has killed six. Report informs citing the TASS.

Most cases recorded in the suburbs of Baghdad and in the provinces of Babil (Babylon)

"It (the outbreak) already has a regional dynamic and the risk of that can only be increased by people from all over the region coming into Iraq," UNICEF country director, Peter Hawkins, said on Thursday. "Kuwait, Bahrain and Syria have already had confirmed cases."

Hawkins said UNICEF was working with clerics in the Shi'ite shrine cities of Najaf and Kerbala to convey information about how to guard against cholera, which is endemic in Iraq and the wider region.

The outbreak can be traced to a number of factors including low water levels in the Euphrates and winter flooding that has contaminated the river and shallow wells with sewage water.

The conflict has displaced more than 3 million people, with many living in camps where conditions are conducive to the spread of cholera - a bite of contaminated food or a sip of contaminated water is enough to cause infection.

A higher proportion of the government budget is also being spent on security at the expense of other services and infrastructure such as water supply, Hawkins said.

One in five of the confirmed cases in Iraq is among children, and in large parts of the country the start of the school year was delayed by a month as a precaution, UNICEF said in a statement.

In response to the outbreak, UNICEF is providing bottled water, oral rehydration salts and installing community water tanks, but like most humanitarian operations in Iraq it is severely underfunded.

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