- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2012

BRAZZAVILLE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO (AP) - A health official says the small Republic of Congo has seen nearly 340 cholera cases in recent months.

Dr. Jean Martim Mabiala said Monday on national radio that there have been nine cholera deaths since June in the area of Likouala, some 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of the capital.

The Republic of Congo is often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, Congo.

Cholera is an easily preventable waterborne bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration and death within hours.

More than 100 people died during a cholera outbreak in Republic of Congo in 2007.

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