Posted by: Tony Carson | 5 October, 2007

Now, Iraq must battle cholera, too

How will the Bush Administration blame this on Saddam?

Notes from an AP article: Iraq struggles with cholera outbreak

Cholera is usually spread by drinking contaminated water, typically causes severe diarrhea that in extreme cases can lead to fatal dehydration and kidney failure.

Cholera can be controlled by treating drinking water with chlorine. But authorities want to keep tight controls on chlorine supplies after extremists earlier this year placed chlorine tanks on suicide truck bombs, killing some two dozen people in several attacks and sending noxious clouds that left hundreds of panicked people gasping for breath.

A shipment of 100,000 tons of chlorine was held up for a week at the Jordanian border last month, amid fears for its safe passage through Iraq.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed at least 3,315 cholera cases and registered more than 30,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea — which could also prove to be cholera in its more common, milder form. The group has also warned that — as the weather cools and temperatures become more favorable for transmission — the bacteria could spread further.

Tom Timberman, leader of a reconstruction team with the 4th Brigade, 25th infantry Division, said water purification and canal clearing systems have broken down due to a lack of maintenance and replacement parts.

Many purification plant workers have been killed or fled the violence, leaving the area with a lack of expertise, Timberman said. Tests at one of the water purification facilities near Iskandariyah, a town 30 miles south of Baghdad, found the filtration system wasn’t working, so dirty water was just passing through the pipes.

In Mosul, about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, officials complain that Baghdad sent them 20 tons of chlorine, while the city needs about 60 tons.

“Now we fear cholera more than the violence,” said Shawan Karim, 33, a resident in the northern city of Kirkuk, which has accounted for more than two-thirds of the confirmed cholera cases.



  1. I was a member of the Northern Babil Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team in 2007. I’m also a veterinarian and Ph.D. in pharmacology, so I know a little something about Vibrio cholerae. You diagnose more outbreaks when you actually do the diagnostic testing. Extensive problems with cholera in Iraq long predate 2003 invasion. Do you think Saddam had the means to test for it or even cared, especially if it were Kurds and Marsh Arabs affected or dying from it? Would he want that information getting out, and wouldn’t he have the means as dictator to control that information? Rhetorical questions you already know the answers to. The difference is that we were helping them revitalize an archaic canal system while establishing new dug wells and water purification systems to combat this problem. Saddam used to close off particular canals in the system to choke out Shia communities and even the entire ecosystem the Marsh Arabs (ever hear of them?) relied on. The real test here would be to compare opportunitistic diseases of poverty and squalor from before 2003, keeping in mind what measures were in place to prevent, diagnose, and treat those diseases compared to now, after the Surge has succeeded. Your unsubstantiated and scientifically unsound one sentence argument is pure conjecture and blatant Bush Derangement Syndrome at its finest. I spent hours trying to explain cholera to Tom Timberman, who is not a scientist, veterinarian, or medical doctor, but a State Department lawyer and overtly leftist Shadow Warrior (see the book by that name written by Ken Timmerman) determined to undermine his own mission and derail his portion of the Surge. Did you care to peel the onion back a little farther to see that Timberman was fired from his job as the ePRT team leader in November of 2007, forced to leave Iraq and back into retirement? Trick question…you never would have found that out in the mainstream media.

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