By Simon Kent.
Concern is mounting in Iraq following an outbreak of cholera which has caused at least 5000 cases since September, with many more suspected to have gone unreported.
World Health Organization official Rana Sidani described the current crisis, noting that,
"We expect an increase in the rate of infections [beyond] the officially declared figures as a result of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq."
The outbreak is thought to have started in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, but as millions of Shi'a pilgrims head to Karbala in southern Iraq for the Arbaeen commemoration, there are fears that the outbreak could get much worse.
Subsequently, the UN have been running a vaccination program to try and pre-empt a more serious outbreak. So far, cases have also been reported in Kuwait and Bahrain, although far fewer than in Iraq.
(Source: World Health Organization.)