Typhoid outbreak confirmed

HARARE - Harare has confirmed an outbreak of typhoid fever which has infected scores of people in the capital, council health officials said yesterday.

Lab results confirmed traces of salmonella typhi, amid fears the typhoid outbreak looks likely to spread as the rainy season intensifies.

At least 39 suspected cases of typhoid fever have been reported, according to City of Harare spokesperson Michael Chideme.

The disease’s epicentre is a sprawling slum in downtown Harare, Mbare, where many have been sickened by contaminated water and food. Chideme said the city has provisionally singled out a borehole in the Mbare area as the source of the problem.

At least one death has been reported so far, with the city warning of further disease outbreaks because of the worsening trash collection and water crisis.

“Out of four sample results that are out, three have been confirmed to be salmonella typhi, which means bacteria that causes typhoid is present in this person’s body. It means they have typhoid, unlike before where we would say suspected cases, this time we have confirmed it is typhoid,” Chideme said.

“And the other one was salmonella group d, which has the same symptoms as salmonella typhi. We are awaiting more results as others are still incubating but we had sent 20 specimens.”

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.

“Because of the awareness drive we did and are doing, more people are visiting health institutions and they get treatment but we are treating them as outpatients,” Chideme said.

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.

Last year, more than 40 people in Harare were hospitalised due to typhoid.

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

The Harare City Council has warned residents to boil or purify water and report any diarrhoea or fever symptoms.

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

Comments (1)

no wonder we got typhoid saw a member from the city of HARARE dumping his filth in the small river in prospect hope he will get it also and kicks the bucket with it

jack - 30 December 2016

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