Lebanon Warns Cholera Outbreak ‘Spreading Rapidly’

Photo: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • Health officials warned Wednesday that a deadly cholera outbreak is "spreading rapidly" in Lebanon, leaving at least five dead in its first outbreak since 1993. Poor sanitation and dilapidated infrastructure have made Lebanon vulnerable to the virulent disease spreading from Syria.

  • The epidemic comes weeks after an outbreak in Syria erupted due to damaged water treatment plants and sanitation infrastructure, with Lebanon's Health Minister Firass Abiad saying they've recorded 169 cases since Oct. 6, nearly half of them in recent days.

The Spin

Narrative A

This latest outbreak in Lebanon is no coincidence, as cholera is often the result of man-made disasters such as war and forced migration. Lebanon knows that, as Syria's neighbor, it has received more than a million refugees fleeing a conflict. Syria's 12-year conflict destroyed most of its water treatment infrastructure and health systems, and this has produced a cascading effect on Lebanon.

Narrative B

This goes beyond regional issues like Syria, Lebanon, and Haiti - this is a global wake-up call. The world has a limited cholera vaccine supply, and nations can't afford to get caught flat-footed as they did with COVID and Monkeypox. Our discourse can't confine the danger to Lebanon and other impacted nations, it's an escalating problem for the international community.

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