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Damascus: (Reuters) – Poor acIcess to safe water has exacerbated a cholera outbreak rampaging across Syria’s war-battered provinces, where local authorities are struggling to contain the spread with chlorine tablets and vaccines.

More than 35,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported across the country, according to the United Nations’ children’s agency UNICEF said only approximately 2,500 have been tested, of which nearly half were confirmed positive. “Finding a single case of cholera means you’ve got an outbreak,” said Zuhair al-Sahwi, the head of communicable and chronic diseases at the Syrian health ministry.

He said the curve had largely flattened, with a slowdown in the number of confirmed new cases daily.Sahwi said the ministry had recorded 46 deaths as a result of delays in accessing medical care and had requested cholera vaccines from the World Health Organization.

According to WHO, Syria’s cases are linked to a rampaging outbreak that began in Afghanistan in June then spread to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon.

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