ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar -- Madagascar, which attracts more than
100,000 visitors annually because of its famed beaches, rain
forests and wildlife, is in the midst of a cholera epidemic,
according to the World Health Organization.
The outbreak began in March 1999 and currently is affecting four
provinces: Antananarivo, Antisiranana, Tollary and Mahajanga. The
latter province has experienced the most deaths, the WHO noted.
Between December and mid-January, about 3,200 new cases were
recorded, along with 121 deaths. About 7,000 cases and 433 deaths
had been recorded by the end of November.
A dispute over responsibility for administering treatment
occurred between the island's government and the Swiss section of
the organization Doctors Without Borders.
The dispute resulted in the withdrawal of the outside
physicians, and treatment is now under the control of government
health officials. The epidemic is not likely to subside in
Madagascar until after the rainy season ends, in late March or
April, the WHO said.
Agents can check the WHO Web site at www.who.int. There also is
information about cholera on the federal Centers for Disease
Control Web site at www.cdc.gov.