BAGHDAD, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi health ministry reported on Sunday 13 cases of cholera, mostly in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
Of the 13 cases were 10 detected in the Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah, one in neighboring Kirkuk Province, and two in the southern province of al-Muthanna, according to a ministry statement.
The ministy urged citizens to pay attention to personal hygiene and ensure that "water used for drinking and cooking is sterilized."
Earlier in the day, Sabah Hawrami, head of the health department of Sulaymaniyah Province, said at a press conference that the 10 confirmed cases in the province are from among the samples the local health authorities sent on June 16 to the central laboratory in Baghdad for verification.
About 4,000 people in Sulaymaniyah were admitted to hospitals over the past week for uncontrolled diarrhea and vomiting, Hawrami added.
Cholera is an extremely virulent disease, whose symptoms in its most severe form include a rapid onset of watery diarrhea and dehydration that can lead to death. The disease is acquired by consuming food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.