Angola: cholera kills 1,109 after spreading to another province

More than 27,700 people have fallen ill with cholera since the outbreak was reported in mid-February in Luanda, the capital, authorities said in a report.

Uige, a city 300 kilometers (180 miles) northeast of Luanda, confirmed its first case Wednesday, the report said. Cholera has now been detected in 11 of the country's 18 provinces.

The fatality rate of about 4 percent is far above the 1 percent the World Health Organization considers average.

Deputy Health Minister Jose Van Dunem told the AP the government's contingency plans are reckoning on up to 250,000 people falling ill before the disease is brought under control.

Van Dunem blamed squalid living conditions, weak public infrastructure and cultural attitudes toward cleanliness for the disease's spread.

Cholera is a major killer in developing countries. It is transmitted through contaminated water and is linked to poor hygiene, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation, the AP reports.

Angola's public infrastructure, including health care, crumbled during a two-decade civil war that ended in 2002.

The disease can be treated easily if patients are rehydrated quickly.

Almost 100 delegates attended a meeting in Luanda of national health authorities to review efforts to combat cholera. The meeting included delegates from regional health authorities, hospitals, U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations.

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