Typhoid cases continue to rise

HARARE - Zimbabwe continues to pay a heavy price for poor health services as typhoid firms its grip nationwide.

Suspected cases have risen to almost 7 000 with 141 of them having been confirmed.

Fatalities stand at six, according to latest statistics from a ministry of Health report.

According to the report, Harare still leads in typhoid cases followed by Chitungwiza and Chegutu. Sanyati, which previously had not recorded cases, has joined the list of areas affected by the waterborne disease.

“Two hundred and fifty new typhoid cases were reported during the week (ending January 27, 2013). The cases were reported from Chitungwiza Central Hospital (eight), Sanyati District (two), Chegutu District (one) and Harare City (239).

“The cumulative figure for typhoid since October 2011 is 6 805 suspected cases, 141 confirmed cases and six deaths,” reads the report.

Health experts have since warned of a potentially devastating typhoid epidemic if measures are not taken to address the causes of the disease.

The disease is mostly spread through contaminated water and, like its bacterial cousin cholera which claimed about 4 000 people since 2008, has proved to be deadly.

Typhoid cases have been reported in different parts of Zimbabwe since 2011.

The worst affected areas have been the densely-populated suburbs of Harare including Glen View, Kuwadzana, Mufakose, Kadoma and the dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

With rains falling hard and public hospitals incapacitated, there are serious warnings that the disease will continue to spread.

The ministry said total diarrhoea cases reported for the same period are 9 889 cases and four deaths.  

Of the reported cases, 4 783 (48,4 percent) and the resulting deaths were from the under-five age group.

The highest number of diarrhoea cases was recorded in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West provinces with 1 543 and 1 283 people affected respectively.

The cumulative figure for diarrhoea is 37 123 and 26 deaths.

Last December, Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera warned the water-borne disease could soon overwhelm the cash-strapped inclusive government if councils fails to address the issue of garbage and supply of safe water. - Wendy Muperi

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