22 Sep 2012

Cholera spreading in Sierra Leone

1:38 pm on 22 September 2012

The World Health Organisation says more than 270 people have died in Sierra Leone from a major outbreak of cholera.

The number of cases in the West African country exceeds 19,000, with nearly every district reporting infections.

Poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water is fuelling the epidemic, especially in the capital Freetown, which is hardest hit.

William Perea of the WHO says efforts to stem the spread of cholera is being hampered by a lack of basic infrastructure.

He says the water system is practically non-existent.

Mr Perea says the disease is spreading slowly to the rest of the country.