The deadliest cholera outbreak in Malawi's history has killed at least 1,210 people while vaccines remain scarce and several other African nations report outbreaks, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.
Since March 2022, there have been approximately 37,000 cases of cholera reported in the nation of southern Africa, making this the worst cholera outbreak on record.
While confirming cases have already been recorded in Mozambique across the border, WHO stated that the likelihood of a spread to Malawi and other nearby nations is currently "very high."
In a statement, WHO noted that active transmission was currently happening in 27 of Malawi's 29 districts and that the number of cases in the nation increased by 143% in January compared to December.
"With a sharp increase of cases seen over the last month, fears are that the outbreak will continue to worsen without strong interventions," WHO warned in a statement.
However, the UN health agency noted that the cholera outbreaks that are escalating globally and have "restricted the supply of vaccinations, testing, and treatments" are the cause of the Malawian disaster.
Throughout 2022, almost 80,000 cases were reported across the African continent.
"If the current fast-rising trend continues, it could surpass the number of cases recorded in 2021, the worst year for cholera in Africa in nearly a decade," the WHO said.
Since the outbreak started, Malawi has conducted two significant vaccination programs, but due to a lack of supplies, only one of the two doses of the oral cholera vaccine that are typically advised have been given.
It got the second shipment of nearly three million tablets from the UN in November, and a health ministry spokeswoman told AFP last month that all the medicines had been used.