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Originally published Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 7:48 AM

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Sierra Leone says cholera killed 66 since January

Sierra Leone's health ministry says a cholera outbreak has sickened more than 3,800 and killed 66 people since January.

The Associated Press

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone —

Sierra Leone's health ministry says a cholera outbreak has sickened more than 3,800 and killed 66 people since January.

The ministry says it is "very concerned" because the outbreak has started spreading fast and now also includes the West African nation's densely populated capital.

It says the number of suspected cholera cases in Freetown skyrocketed within three weeks from three to 410, resulting in nine deaths.

The statement, released late Friday, said all measures to contain the outbreak will be taken but cautioned that the disease might spread fast in urban areas "with poor hygiene and sanitation, especially during the (current) rainy season."

If untreated, Cholera is a potentially deadly disease whose symptoms consist of rapid dehydration and vomiting caused by bacteria found in contaminated water or food.

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