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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Not bad, as far as epidemics go

Posted by: Hammer / 12:28 PM

No wonder Hamid Karzai came to D.C., hat in hand. The water in Kabul is worse than Milwaukee:
The Afghan capital is on the verge of a cholera epidemic with more than 2,000 suspected cases and eight deaths in recent weeks, a health worker in Kabul warned today.

"An epidemic is about to break out here. Over two thousand cases have been reported so far that would meet the case definition of cholera," said Fred Hartman, technical director for the US-backed Rural Expansion of Afghanistan's Community-based Health Care programme.

...Cholera is a major killer in developing countries, where it is spread mainly through contaminated food or water. The bacterium attacks the intestine and causes severe diarrhea and dehydration.

The story notes that a cholera outbreak in 2003 was quickly resolved by chlorinating the drinking water. So this is not that bad, as far as epidemics go. Unless, of course, you actually live in Kabul.

There was a cholera outbreak in northern Afghanistan in 2001, so it's not like conditions are worse since we toppled the Taliban. Still, how much time must we spend rebuilding a nation before it's actually better than the day we bombed it?


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