Typhoid outbreak strikes Harare

HARARE - Harare’s oldest suburb of Mbare has been hit by an outbreak of the deadly typhoid fever which is suspected to have claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl amid fears that it could spread to other suburbs due to intensifying rains.

City of Harare spokesperson Michael Chideme said they recorded at least 39 suspected cases of typhoid fever in Mbare where many have been sickened by contaminated water and food.

“We are still investigating to confirm whether the death was a result of typhoid. The girl was initially admitted at Harare Hospital and was transferred to the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital (Nazareth) on Saturday. She died on admission,” Chideme said in a statement.

“Her siblings were also sick with similar symptoms. Her brother was admitted at the hospital. On further investigations, about 30 people on 8th and 9th Street in Mbare were then treated for suspected typhoid.

“At the moment, nine people from the area are admitted and several others receiving treatment as a precautionary measure. The city Health department has deployed heavily in Mbare to mobilise and educate residents against behaviour that may lead to typhoid and other communicable diseases,” added Chideme.

Health officials have been deployed to affected areas including Mbare, a sprawling township with dysfunctional sewers and intermittent tap water, to contain the situation and identify suspected cases.

“The city has provisionally singled out a borehole in the area as the source of the problem. The borehole is not properly secured, a factor which might cause runoff water and sewer to seep through and cause illnesses,” Chideme said.

“The city encourages people exhibiting suspected typhoid symptoms to quickly seek medical attention, wash hands before and after eating food and after visiting the toilet.

“Residents are urged to consume and buy food from licensed and hygienic places. Wash all fruits and pre-treat all water for domestic purposes with aqua tablets.”

Officials warned Harare was on the brink of a public health catastrophe that is so severe it could pose a threat to other towns and cities.

Typhoid — a bacterial disease spread through poor food hygiene and contaminated water — occasionally breaks out in Zimbabwe’s poorer townships, where water supplies are still basic more than three decades after the end of white rule.

Untreated, the disease can lead to complications in the gut and head which can kill up to one in five patients.

Harare has recorded 139 cases of typhoid in the last two years.

The capital city, like many other cities, is battling a severe water crisis which has created a very complex humanitarian emergency accompanied by a perfect storm for infectious disease threats due to the capital’s massive population and collapse of the health care and public health systems in the country.

Initial cases had been from Mbare but there are fears the illness could spread to both the formal townships and affluent parts of the city.

Comments (3)

it`s so sad that young kids die but the old man is enjoying $6m from the government coffers in only just 1 month. that money is more than enough to resuscitate the water crisis in Mbare and yet again we chose ourselves instead of the welfares of the state. it really sucks when we see little lids die because we can`t fix little things coz someone wants power .

chomdzungom - 28 December 2016

At least the man who sees himself as above all Zimbabweans is enjoying a well-deserved rest in the Far East. Hopefully Grace will get her shopping done - which of course we too are paying for. Excuse the cynicism.

david taylor - 28 December 2016

The sad state of Zimbabwe For all those in positions of power, all those who are in govt positions, time has surely come for you to admit failure. This is 2016 people! 2016, and the capital city of a country like Zimbabwe has outbreaks of Cholera and typhoid. How can people call themselves leaders, defenders of the revolution, custodians of the future of Zimbabwe when such things are happening and all they can do is argue and hurl insults to each other. Young and promising lives are being lost, many dreams have been shattered and the future stolen. Kunove riini chokwadi when these incompetent morons stop and say"we have failed". For the sake of humanity. It is sickening to think that these same people have directed and cheer-led the incarceration of innocents, the brutal torture, and murder of citizens while they loot and brag about it without remorse. Its a shame.. Indeed to borrow Jonathan Moyo's words "Zimbabwe deserves better" and I must add way better than him and his corrupt and incompetent colleagues.

gudo - 28 December 2016

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