West News Wire: The health minister announced on Monday that Malawi has postponed the opening of public schools in its two largest cities, Blantyre and Lilongwe, in an effort to reduce an increase in cholera mortality.

Since cases were initially reported in March, the overall number of illnesses has increased to 17,824 and the death toll to 595, with the fatality rate rising to 3.34 percent, according to the Ministry of Health.

When it rains in Malawi from November to March, cholera is an issue every year, resulting in about 100 fatalities annually. But it’s anticipated that this epidemic will be the deadliest yet.

Primary and secondary schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe will not open on January 3 as previously scheduled, according to a statement from Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda. “Due to the ongoing increase of cholera cases and deaths in the towns of Blantyre and Lilongwe,” the statement continued.

Later, she promised, a new reopening date would be disclosed.

According to the UN health agency, death rates are growing in nearly 30 of the nations that reported cholera outbreaks in 2022, which is about a third more than in an average year.

Cholera is spread by contaminated food or water and can cause acute diarrhoea. Many people have mild symptoms, but it can kill within hours if untreated.

Victims in Malawi include medics at public health centres.

Chiponda called on authorities to tighten control measures, including spraying chlorine to disinfect congested places such as markets and schools and stepping up inoculations.

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