Cholera outbreak detected at nursing home in Lebanon

Fourteen elderly residents at the facility in Tripoli were taken to hospital

Health workers take part in a Unicef campaign to contain the spread of cholera in Lebanon. Photo: Unicef
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Fourteen elderly residents of a nursing home in Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli were taken to hospital on Sunday after contracting cholera.

The health ministry said a medical team sent to conduct rapid testing at the Abu Samra nursing home had confirmed the infections.

People thought to have the illness were quarantined, while those taken to hospital were stable, the ministry said.

Lebanon is battling its first outbreak of cholera in three decades, with the first cases detected last month in the northernmost region of Akkar, bordering Syria. At least 20 deaths have been reported so far. The highly infectious bacterial disease is spread through contaminated food and water.

The ministry said more than 250 people at the home did not show symptoms. All the residents were given cholera vaccines and samples of food and water from the home were analysed.

The Lebanese government, aided by humanitarian organisations, has moved quickly to contain the spread of the disease, despite the country's severe economic crisis – which has led to severe shortages in medicines, clean water and electricity.

"The epidemic is not over, despite the efforts made in the past two months that have limited the contamination," the ministry said. Although the spread of the disease has mostly been contained, cholera cases may still "appear in epidemic hotspots", it said

Although cases have been confirmed throughout Lebanon, they are most prevalent in areas bordering Syria — particularly Akkar, a rural and impoverished region.

Syria is also grappling with an outbreak of cholera that has already killed at least 92 people.

Updated: November 28, 2022, 11:28 AM
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