Egypt sends 17 tonnes of cholera medicine and vaccines to Lebanon

More than 2,700 confirmed or suspected cases have been reported, along with 18 deaths

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Egypt will send 17 tonnes of medicine and vaccines to help tackle Lebanon's deadly cholera outbreak.

The aid will arrive by military plane in Beirut on Wednesday morning, the Egyptian embassy in Lebanon said.

The mission said Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati requested help with the outbreak — its first in three decades — from Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi at the recent Arab League summit in Algeria.

There have been more than 2,700 confirmed or suspected cholera cases and 18 deaths in Lebanon since the outbreak began in early October.

Although infections have been found in all of Lebanon’s eight governorates, they are concentrated in northern areas near the Syrian border and in refugee camps which typically suffer from extremely poor sanitation.

However, reports of new cases have begun to emerge. There have been no deaths for a week amid a push by the authorities and humanitarian agencies to contain cholera, an acute diarrheal disease that is easily treatable but can prove deadly within hours if left to run its course.

Last week, Lebanon received its first batch of cholera vaccines, comprising more than 13,000 doses, from France. Another 600,000 are due to arrive from the UN next week.

The cholera strain found in Lebanon is similar to the one in neighbouring Syria, itself struggling with a major outbreak.

Lebanon is grappling with a severe economic crisis that has led to major shortages in medicine, clean water and electricity.

There are concerns that Lebanon’s struggling health infrastructure could fail to deal with a larger outbreak if the current one spreads further.

Updated: November 08, 2022, 11:46 AM
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