Cablegate: Jordan Reacts to Iraq Cholera "Outbreak" with Heightened
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHAM #2780 2731328
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291328Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3610
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHRBA/REO BASRAH 0005
RUEHIHL/REO HILLAH 0003
RUEHKUK/REO KIRKUK 0008
UNCLAS AMMAN 002780
DEPARTMENT FOR PRM, NEA/ELA, NEA/I, EEB
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI PREL ETRD JO IZ
SUBJECT: Jordan Reacts to Iraq Cholera "Outbreak" with Heightened
Screening Processes for People and Food
REF: Baghdad 2928
Sensitive but unclassified; please protect accordingly.
Not for internet distribution or use outside the USG.
1. (SBU) Summary. In response to reports of isolated cases of
cholera in various areas of Iraq, the Government of Jordan had
directed the medical screening of people arriving from Iraq. It has
also imposed a temporary ban on the import of non-canned food
products from Iraq. The number of reported cases varies depending
on who is reporting and the degree of seriousness remains open to
question. End summary.
2. (U) Press accounts in Jordan have reported the banning of food
imports (other than canned goods) into Jordan
for the next two months due to concerns over possible contamination
from an "outbreak" of cholera in neighboring Iraq. The Government
of Jordan (GoJ) instituted this ban on September 10, noting that
similar measures taken in 2007 were effective in helping prevent the
spread of the disease at that time.
3. (SBU) The Jordanian Ministry of Health (MoH) subsequently
announced on September 12 that all passengers arriving to Jordan
from Iraq would need to complete a questionnaire and submit it to a
"health squad" at all Jordanian ports-of-entry. If indications of
cholera are found, the individual would be sent to a local hospital,
at GoJ expense, for laboratory testing. So far only Iraqis have
been subjected to this screening. A MoH representative commented to
EmbOffs that while Jordan has not yet actually discovered a case of
cholera among arriving Iraqis, and little would actually change in
day-to-day activities, this screening procedure would remain in
effect for two months.
4. (SBU) World Health Organization (WHO), the UN, and Embassy
Baghdad (reftel) are aware of the health threat, but none indicated
serious concerns. The most recent information indicates that as of
28 September there are 340 confirmed cases, with five fatalities.
This remains significantly less than in 2007 when, by the end of
September, there were reportedly more than 1,400 confirmed cases.
Note: The September 2007 outbreak resulted in a total of 4,696
cases and 28 deaths. End note. A WHO report dated September 10,
noted that as the overall quality of water and sanitation in Iraq
remains poor, cholera infection/contamination/outbreak is possible.
5. (U) This cable has been cleared by Embassy Baghdad.
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