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Cholera cases in Zimbabwe exceed 60,000: WHO
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More than 60,000 people have been infected with cholera in Zimbabwe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday.

Of the infected people, 3,161 have died, said WHO, which described the situation as a "worst case scenario" since the epidemic broke out in August.

WHO reported over 1,000 deaths in just the past 15 days, and called on international nongovernmental organizations and the Zimbabwean government to help.

The increasing death toll also pressed the country's rival parties to end the political uncertainty and form a unity government to combat the deadly disease.

Cholera is a diarrhoeal disease caused by infection of the intestine. In five to 10 percent of cases, patients develop severe watery diarrhoea and vomit from six hours to five days after exposure to the bacterium.

Death can occur within hours and those who are malnourished or already have intestinal parasites can be at especially high risk of death.

(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2009)

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