Five million people are at risk of cholera in drought-hit Ethiopia, where acute watery diarrhea has broken out in crowded, unsanitary conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
Cholera, an acute intestinal infection, causes watery diarrhea that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not promptly given, according to the United Nations agency.
"Overall, 8.8 million people are at risk of malaria and 5 million of cholera (in Ethiopia)," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in a note sent to journalists.
Ethiopian health officials have confirmed cases of acute watery diarrhea in the Somali, Afar and Oromiya regions of Ethiopia, he told Reuters. "It is not confined to the refugees."