Cholera is an infection that causes severe diarrhea, rapid dehydration, and death. It's caused by a bacteria that occurs in places with poor sanitation and inadequate access to clean water sources. In these places, drinking water can become contaminated by feces, and people get the infection by drinking the contaminated, untreated water.
The largest cholera outbreak in Africa in 2012 occurred in Sierra Leone and a neighboring region in Guinea. More than 25,000 cases of cholera occurred and 392 people died. 12 of Sierra Leone's 13 districts were affected.
The 2013 rainy season in Sierra Leone, which begins in early June and runs through October, is expected to ignite another cholera outbreak. Much of the international response to the 2012 cholera outbreak was focused on the treatment of cholera cases, but our strategy in 2013 is to work effectively and efficiently to prevent cholera cases and cholera deaths.