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UN Says Zimbabwe Cholera Epidemic is Worsening



The United Nations says Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic continues to worsen, with the death toll from the disease rising to more than 1100.

The new figure released Thursday shows an increase of 133 cholera deaths in just two days.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, says more than 20,500 cholera cases have been reported in Zimbabwe since August.

The agency reported a new outbreak Thursday in Chegutu Urban, west of the capital Harare, where it says more than 378 suspected cases and 121 deaths have been recorded.

The U.N. says a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation continues to be a problem, as well as a strike by most of the country's health workers.

Aid agencies are warning that supplies of intravenous fluids, used to treat cholera, could run out early next year.

Cholera is a bacterial infection that spreads through contaminated water. The disease has been spreading rapidly in Zimbabwe because of the failure of the country's health, sewage and water systems.

Zimbabwe's government has been paralyzed by hyperinflation and a stalemate in power-sharing talks between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition MDC.

The growing crisis has triggered international calls for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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