According to World Health Organisation (WHO), as quoted by local media reports, the outbreak began on September 28 and made more than 1,500 people sick. It appeared to die down by October 20, with fewer than five patients reported weekly until November 5. However, the number of cases surged, with 136 people being affected since November 26.
Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said in a statement late on Friday that the president believed emergency measures were needed to contain the waterborne disease, which also included the closure of some markets in the city.
"The president is deeply concerned at rampaging advance of the epidemic and has therefore called on the defence forces to join other stakeholders and thoroughly clean up Lusaka. The outbreak was initially confined to densely populated parts of Lusaka where poor sanitation can aid its transmission, but the disease had now spread to low-density areas," Chanda said.
"The outbreak was initially linked to contaminated water from shallow wells but investigations revealed that the spread was being propagated through contaminated food. In the last two weeks, three traders from Soweto market have died from cholera and 18 more are currently under admission in various cholera treatment centres," Chanda added, referring to Zambia's largest street food market.