Harare declared typhoid free

HARARE - Harare has been declared typhoid free, with no cases having been reported in nearly two months, council’s health director Prosper Chonzi said.

The Harare City Council (HCC)’s healthcare facilities have gone for more than six weeks without any reported case of the waterborne diseases.

“According to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, if you go for two incubation periods of a particular condition, like typhoid, without any reported cases, then it means the outbreak is particularly over,” Chonzi said.

He said the last confirmed case was on June 4 and since then, the city has not received any typhoid reports, which he attributed to good hygiene by residents.

Chonzi is on record saying the water and sanitation situation in the city had caused typhoid to resurface after the 2011 outbreak that hit Dzivarasekwa and other neighbourhoods.

The typhoid spread from Dzivarasekwa to other suburbs such as Warren Park, Kuwadzana, Mufakose, Mabelreign and Granary, with 1 175 infected people treated.

Contaminated shallow wells were identified as the probable cause of the outbreak together with poor water and sanitation hygiene.

Since the beginning of the year, the HCC has been making fortnightly water cuts to allow for the repairing and maintenance of Morton Jaffray waterworks and the city’s distribution network.

Chonzi said other causes of typhoid were burst sewer pipes, delayed repairs and sewer outflows in residential areas.

According to WHO, an estimated 17 million cases of typhoid are recorded worldwide, with 25 percent of those infected dying.

“Other drivers of typhoid in Harare also included use of unhygienic sanitation means like pit latrines in new settlements and emergence of illegal vending and selling of raw fish, meat and sadza at unhygienic open spaces,” Chonzi said.

Though the city enacted a by-law prohibiting the sale of meat by vendors, the current economic hardships have seen residents continue to sell and buy raw meats from streets.

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