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NIAMEY, Sept 3 — An epidemic of cholera that has struck six regions in southern Niger has claimed 104 lives, the health ministry said today.

It reported that 2,874 cases of the water-borne disease had been recorded in the capital Niamey and five other regions — Maradi, Zinder, Dosso, Tahoua and Tillaberi.

The toll as of August 19 stood at 35 fatalities out of 845 cases.

But the number of dead hit 104 on September 1, with a “fatality rate of four per cent”, the health ministry said in a statement Friday. 

Most infections are among people aged between 15 and 37, the ministry said. 

The authorities are working with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the UN and EU on a prevention campaign, including disinfection of village wells and the distribution of water purification tablets.

Cholera is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by human faeces. 

The disease is treated with rehydration and antibiotics, and prevented with better hygiene and sanitation.

Niger’s last epidemic of cholera was in 2018, when 78 people died out of a caseload of 3,824 patients, according to the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

The latest outbreak coincides with severe flooding, which increases exposure to cholera bacteria. — AFP

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