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Burundi’s Health Ministry declared an outbreak of cholera on Wednesday with 15 cases reported in the western part of the country, which is prone to water shortages.

“The cholera patients were admitted at a hospital in the municipality of Bujumbura and other treatment centers,” Polycarpe Ndayizeye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health and AIDS Control, told reporters in the capital Gitega.

Ndayizeye urged health authorities and residents in affected areas of Bujumbura, Gatumba and Rugombo as well as all other stakeholders to join efforts against cholera.

He also urged residents, especially those living in affected districts, to abide by hygiene rules.

Earlier this year, cholera killed two people in the health district of Bujumbura, particularly at the Kajaga beach on Lake Tanganyika.

Water shortages are regularly reported in the western part of Burundi, especially during drought periods from May to September, causing cholera outbreaks.

A recent cholera outbreak in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region has affected 15 countries, according to an August update report. The latest outbreak affected six countries, including Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe, accounting for more than 200 new cases.

The WHO said the trend across the region is on the decline and is being closely monitored.

However, it called on countries to enhance readiness, heighten surveillance and institute preventive and control measures in communities and around border crossings to prevent and mitigate cross-border infection. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

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