Cholera death toll rises to 10

DThe death toll from the current cholera outbreak in Harare’s high-density suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro has risen to 10, with health officials tracing the source of the disease to a burst sewer pipe that was contaminating borehole water used by residents in the affected areas, the Harare City Council (HCC) said yesterday.

There are fears that the diarrhoeal disease, which has been confirmed in Glen View and Budiriro, could have spread to Glen Norah.

By end of day yesterday, 320 people had been hospitalised.

Two hundred and twenty three patients are presently admitted in Glen View, while 100 are receiving treatment at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital.

Boreholes in the afflicted areas have since been decommissioned.

Further, cholera vaccines are set to be dispensed this week.

HCC health director Dr Clemence Duri said authorities continue to monitor the affected areas.

“The death toll has risen to 10 after five more people died today (yesterday) morning. Of the five, one was from Glen Norah, while the others are from Glen View,” he said.

“Although we are not yet sure of the cause of death of the one from Glen Norah, we are suspecting it is cholera.

“We have established that the outbreak was caused by a burst sewer pipe which contaminated borehole water. We have, however, rectified the situation and replaced the pipe.

“As of today (yesterday), 223 cases of cholera had been confirmed in Glen View, while about 100 cases had been confirmed at Beatrice Infectious Road Hospital. Some of the patients were being treated and discharged.

“We have since decommissioned two boreholes in Glen View and we will continue monitoring the area.”

Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira said Government is now on high alert and will soon submit a proposal to introduce cholera vaccines in high-risk areas across the country.

“We realise that the cases are on the rise, thus we will be on high alert nationwide given the season that we are in and that the rain season is approaching,” she said.

“We are going to submit a proposal for cholera vaccines in some areas that we have mapped up as high risk areas for cholera.”

In August, seven people died after a typhoid outbreak in Gweru.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care condemned Gweru City Council water as unsafe for human consumption.

It is suspected that the water was contaminated by sewage, which found its way into water pipes.

Most MDC-run councils have been criticised for failing to provide effective service delivery.

Water supplies in most urban areas such as Harare and Gweru have been intermittent, with residents resorting to unprotected water sources.

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