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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rites Breed Cholera

MOSCOW () -- Top sanitary officials said Friday that Dagestani religious ceremonies have made it impossible to halt the spread of cholera in southern Russia, where the often fatal disease is expected to continue to rage for at least another month.

"About 65 percent of all cases in Dagestan originate from religious rituals like weddings and funeral parties where hundreds of people gather at a time," Yevgeny Belyayev, chief of the State Committee for Sanitary-Epidemiological Surveillance, told a press conference .

Cholera is spread through contaminated food and water.