2 die in cholera outbreak

HARARE - The Health ministry has issued a cholera outbreak alert after two people died while two others are being treated of the disease in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.

The highly communicable disease is believed to have spread from neighbouring Mozambique, where a cholera epidemic — infecting more than 1 000 people — was triggered by Cyclone Dineo flooding.

This is the second time cholera — which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is lethal, if not treated promptly — has struck Zimbabwe.

Around 2008-9, the disease claimed more than 4 000 lives while about 10 000 people were infected throughout the country.

Briefing the media yesterday, deputy Health minister Aldrin Musiiwa warned that the cholera outbreak could be worsened by the flooding experience in the affected areas.

“An outbreak of cholera was reported at Rupangwana Clinic in Chiredzi District of Masvingo province on March 10, 2017 and at Chinyamukwakwa Clinic in Chipinge District of Manicaland Province on the March 14 2017,” he said.

Musiiwa said; “Chipinge district has been affected by the recent floods and this particular area has been hard hit with communities failing to access health facilities for treatment. Most people in the affected area of Mabee have no access to safe drinking water due to these floods”.

He said the area where the cases have been reported is adjacent to the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border where there is an influx of people.

Government has so far dispatched rapid response teams to the two provinces to conduct assessments and curb the crisis.

“The cases are being managed at the two clinics in Chiredzi and Chipinge. Medicines and other supplies are being moved to the affected flood communities. My ministry with the help of World Health Organisation and other partners is prepositioning diarrhoeal kits in the provinces each capable of treating 500 diarrhoeal cases. Non-food items kits have also been prepositioned; these include soap, water treatment tablets, buckets and others,” Musiiwa said.

Health ministry secretary Gerald Gwinji added that just one case of cholera constitutes an outbreak.

“ . . . it’s all systems go once that happens, that includes the requisite communication to the public,” he said.

The public advised to always use a toilet, treat all water, wash fruits and veggies, avoid shaking hands, wash hands, cook food thoroughly and to immediately report any symptoms to a nearby health facility.

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