Islamabad, May 16 (EFE).- A cholera outbreak in southwestern Balochistan province of Pakistan has claimed at least seven lives, including three children, and infected more than 2,400, a health official said on Monday.
The official said residents of the cholera-hit Pir Koh area of Dera Bugti district with a population of about 40,000 have little or no access to clean drinking water and usually drink from contaminated ponds.
“So far, seven people, including three children, have died and 2,424 people have been affected by the cholera outbreak,” District Health Officer Azam Bugti told EFE over the telephone.
He said the first case of cholera was reported on Apr.17.
Bugti said the examination of water samples from ponds confirmed the presence of bacteria that caused the outbreak.
He said people have no choice but to drink water from ponds in an area rich in natural gas but has poor health facilities.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the outbreak and instructed authorities to provide food, clean drinking water, and other assistance to the affected in Pir Koh.
“Following my directions to the federal & provincial authorities, emergency relief measures are underway for the residents of Dera Bugti,” Sharif said on Sunday. “The situation is being monitored very closely.”
Locals staged a protest in the area on Saturday over the lack of clean drinking water and rising cholera cases.
According to the health official, the situation was under control after daily cases declined. Many patients have been discharged from hospitals.
Cholera is one of the common diseases in Pakistan that spreads through contaminated food or water.
According to Unicef, 53,000 Pakistani children under five die annually from diarrhea due to poor water and sanitation.
An estimated 70 percent of households drink bacteria-contaminated water in the country. EFE