The dangers of waterborne pathogens in floodwaters have received increased coverage in the U.S. over the past week as horrifying descriptions of brain-eating amoebas and flesh-eating bacteria have claimed lives in Nevada and in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, respectively. In Nigeria, where the worst flooding in over a decade has killed more than 600 people already, the lack of clean, safe drinking water could fuel a cholera outbreak could devastate the country.
Already, thousands of suspected cholera cases have been reported as a UN-described “worrying upsurge” of cholera sound the world and especially in the Middle East and Africa has led WHO officials to suspend the standard two-dose vaccine regime, instead using a single-shot dosage, to enable more people to be vaccinated, albeit less effectively.
As world leaders prepare to attend COP27 — claimed by organizers to be the “African COP” despite advocates from numerous African countries being prevented from even attending the conference — the UN warned on Wednesday that close to 1 million people living in areas of Somalia controlled by, or under the influence of, the al-Shabab extremist group are at especially great risk as the drought parching the Horn of Africa fuels a food crisis bordering on famine that has already killed thousands. (Nigeria cholera dangers: CNN; Cholera vaccine shortage: CNN; Somalia drought: AP; Nigeria flooding photo essay: The Guardian; Waterborne disease and climate change: Gizmodo; Brain-eating amoeba: E&E News, AP; Flesh-eating bacteria: Washington Post $, The Guardian; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase, Drought)