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SANAA--Health experts fear millions will be at risk of cholera as Yemen's rainy season begins.

Experts also called for a public health campaign during Ramadan, which begins mid-May, after research suggested that traditions linked to the holy month may have helped spread the disease last year.

More than 1 million suspected cases of cholera have been reported in Yemen since 2016, killing more than 2,000 people.

We expect to see a surge of cases during the rainy season, said Anton Camacho, lead author of a study on the epidemic published in The Lancet Global Health journal.

If something is going to happen it will happen now so everyone should be aware and respond quickly. The risk is high, he told the Thomson Foundation.

The rainy season runs from mid-April to the end of August.

The daily number of cholera cases increased 100-fold in the first four weeks of last year's rainy season, leading to the disease spreading across the whole country, the study said.

The authors suggested contamination of water sources during the rainy season and changing levels of zooplankton and iron in water, which help cholera bacteria survive, may have contributed to the explosion of cases.

Yemen's epidemic has been exacerbated by years of conflict which has damaged health services and water supplies, uprooted more than 2 million people and driven the country to the brink of famine.

The research, which mapped the outbreak and analysed rainfall patterns, has helped health officials and the World Health Organization to identify where to distribute cholera vaccinations.


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