October 11, 2016 / 11:50 AM / 3 years ago

More cholera cases registered in Yemen but disease not spreading: WHO

SANAA (Reuters) - More cases of cholera have been registered in the Yemeni capital Sanaa but a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday the epidemic was not yet spreading.

The United Nations first reported the cholera outbreak on Friday and said three cases had been confirmed in Sanaa.

But a WHO official on Tuesday said 11 cases had now been registered.

“All the suspected cases are from the same area, they are all interconnected, there is no spread of the disease,” Omar Saleh told a news conference in Sanaa.

Medics were working to curb the epidemic, which has yet to claim any deaths or spread beyond the capital, he said.

Thousands of families fleeing Yemen’s war are living in camps outside Sanaa, where conditions could lead to the spread of cholera, including through contaminated food or water.

Much of the country’s infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, has been destroyed by the 18-month old conflict between a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi group which controls much of northern Yemen, including Sanaa.

A boy lies on a bed at a hospital where he is receiving treatment for cholera amid confirmation by the UNICEF and the World Health Organization of an outbreak of the epidemic in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Saleh said that more than half of Yemen’s health centers had ceased to operate since the start of the war after not receiving funds from the health ministry.

The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced millions, the United Nations estimates.

(Clarifies headline and first para to make clear disease not spreading)

Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari, Writing by Tom Finn, editing by Sami Aboudi and Angus MacSwan

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