Lebanon launches three week cholera vaccination campaign

The vaccination campaign began in the morning in the governorates of North, Akkar, Bekaa, and Baalbek-Hermel, and will last three weeks in the first phase

A boy receives an oral cholera vaccine in the town of Muhammara, Akkar Governorate, in northern Lebanon, on Nov. 12, 2022. A national vaccination campaign against cholera was launched on Saturday in northern Lebanon, which was hit hard by the disease over the last several weeks, the health ministry announced in a statement.

BEIRUT – A national vaccination campaign against cholera was launched on Saturday in northern Lebanon, which was hit hard by the disease over the last several weeks, the health ministry announced in a statement.

The vaccination campaign began in the morning in the governorates of North, Akkar, Bekaa, and Baalbek-Hermel, and will last three weeks in the first phase, said the ministry statement.

A total of 600,000 doses of vaccine will be administered in the coming weeks, the local news website L’Orient Today cited caretaker Health Minister Firass Abiad inspecting the vaccination campaign as saying.

The minister also emphasized the need to seriously clean the water sources.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection which is typically spread through water and food contaminated by fecal matter because of poor wastewater management and poor hygiene practices.

On Oct. 6, the Lebanese health ministry officially declared an outbreak of cholera in the northern part of the country. So far, all Lebanon’s eight governorates and 18 out of 26 districts have confirmed cases, according to the ministry.

The current cholera outbreak is the first in Lebanon in about 30 years, reflecting the ongoing deterioration in the economic situation and poor access to clean water and proper sanitation services across the country.

In the past two weeks, the epidemic appeared to be stabilizing in Lebanon, as the rate of infection has decreased and no new deaths have been recorded since Nov. 3.

Lebanon has so far reported 532 confirmed cholera cases and 18 deaths.

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