Over 440,000 in Lebanon Have Been Vaccinated Against Cholera
Vaccine acceptance against cholera is high in Lebanon, as the disease has swept across Lebanon. Lebanon’s Ministry of Health reported that more than 440,000 one-dose oral vaccines were administered in the country through November 30. The vaccine provides up to six months of protection against cholera. Health care workers have gone door-to-door since mid-November to vaccinate 70% of residents in the three areas most vulnerable to the disease – Akkar, Bekaa and Central Bekaa. Lebanon has seen some 4,600 cholera cases to date. The disease, which is spread by water contaminated with human feces, first hit Syria and then crossed the border to Lebanon. It causes severe dehydration and can lead to death within hours if left untreated, according to the World Health Organization. Safe drinking water and sanitation are critical to prevent the disease and control its transmission. People in Lebanon’s remote and neglected areas, mainly in the north and northeast of the country, rely on polluted rivers and ponds to cover their water needs; but this is where the vibrio cholerae bacterium, the bacteria that spreads cholera, infects them. With an alarming exodus of doctors and nurses and the destruction of critical medical infrastructure in the August 2020 Beirut port blast, along with the lack of investment in health facilities, people in Lebanon are heavily relying on aid and treatments coming from non- governmental organizations.