Stories tagged Zimbabwe

Government officials in Zimbabwe have (finally) declared a state of emergency in the cholera epidemic that has already sickened more than 12,000 people and killed more than 550. Caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium, cholera's hallmarks are massive watery diarrhea and vomiting, and people who die from cholera generally die from dehydration. It's a terrible cycle: people get cholera from a contaminated water supply (or food that's been tainted through contaminated water. They don't have clean water to drink, so have no means of safe rehydration, and they don't have safe sewage systems, so waste infected with the cholera bacteria goes right back into the water where it can infect others.

Cholera is rare in the developed world today, but it wasn't always. For a fascinating real-life epidemiological detective story about the deadliest cholera outbreak in London's history (in August, 1854), check out Steven Johnson's "The Ghost Map." Even if you're not into non-fiction, it's a great read. I couldn't put it down.