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RIYADH, September 17, 2018 (News Wires) - Saudi Arabia confirmed one cholera infection and three other suspected cases in an area bordering Yemen, where an epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people, state TV reported on Sunday, citing a health ministry official.

The report said the patients, identified only as non-Saudis, were receiving care at al-Mauwassem General Hospital in Jizan, about 1,000 km (620 miles) southwest of the capital, Riyadh.

It was unclear if the outbreak was linked to Yemen or to last month’s Muslim haj pilgrimage, which draws some two million foreigners each year, raising the risk of the spread of infectious disease.

The incubation period for cholera, which spreads through ingestion of fecal matter and causes acute watery diarrhea, is a matter of hours. Once symptoms start, it can kill within hours if the patient does not receive treatment.

The United Nations has blamed warring sides in Yemen’s three-year-old civil war and their international allies, including Saudi Arabia, for fuelling the cholera outbreak there.

The WHO has rolled out an emergency treatment programme, based on the vestiges of Yemen’s shattered health system, to try to catch new cases early and stop the explosive spread of the disease.

Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabeeah said last month that the haj had passed without any outbreak of disease.

HARARE, Sept 16, 2018 (News Wires) - The death toll in Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has risen to 28, state media said Sunday, as the health minister announced new antibiotics were being used after the disease strain was found to be resistant to some drugs.

The cholera outbreak, first detected in a township outside the capital Harare earlier this month, prompted the government to declare an emergency in the city after at least 3,000 cases were reported.

"Although I cannot say we have contained the disease as yet, we are moving swiftly in all provinces of the country," health minister Obadiah Moyo told the state-owned Sunday Mail.

"We have moved into the second line of antibiotics, which is azithromycin, after the first line of antibiotics -- ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone -- have become resistant to the disease."

Moyo said rubbish dumps would be removed from high-risk areas of Harare, sewer pipes would be repaired and street food vendors had been ordered to halt work.

Authorities have banned public gatherings in the city as a health measure, forcing the opposition MDC party to call off a major rally on Saturday.

Newly-appointed Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube last week launched a crowd-funding effort to raise money to fight the outbreak, publicising bank details on Twitter and appealing for donations.

Cholera outbreaks have occurred regularly in Zimbabwe as authorities struggle to provide potable water and sanitation facilities.

The cash-strapped country, which was ruled by Robert Mugabe from independence in 1980 until his ousting last year, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008.

A total of 4,000 people died and at least 100,000 people fell ill.

UNICEF advised Zimbabweans to prevent cholera spreading by regular hand-washing, drinking only safe water, washing food, cooking it throughly and avoiding shaking hands.

 

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Zimbabwe's main opposition says it has postponed an event to affirm its leader as the country's "duly elected president" because of a deadly cholera outbreak in the capital.

The announcement by the Movement for Democratic Change party comes after the government banned "public gatherings" in Harare to help curb the outbreak.

The opposition on Saturday had planned an "inauguration" of Nelson Chamisa after losing disputed elections. He would be the latest African politician to hold a ceremony of defiance while claiming the presidency.

The MDC party says the event will occur "on a later date."

Chamisa narrowly lost the July 30 election, the first after the fall of decades-long leader Robert Mugabe. A legal challenge to the results was rejected by the Constitutional Court.