Zimbabwe

Scurvy 'hits' Zimbabwe's psychiatric hospital amid 'poor nutrition'

2017-01-11 06:01
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Special Report

Mugabe allies hint they could ditch his party
Mugabe allies hint they could ditch his party

Zimbabwean war veterans, who have given President Robert Mugabe key support in past, have vowed to rally behind "competent" candidates in next year's elections even those from the opposition.

Bulawayo - Authorities in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo say they've sent a team to investigate reports that scurvy has broken out in a hospital there.

The state-owned Chronicle newspaper reported that patients at Ingutsheni Central Hospital, a psychiatric institution, were developing scurvy "due to poor nutrition".

Bulawayo already has teams on standby for typhoid, which has killed two and infected dozens in the capital Harare, which is more than 400 km away. Seven suspected cases of typhoid in Bulawayo last week all turned out to be negative. Responding to news of the scurvy outbreak on Twitter, the city council said: "We have sent a team to attend to it."

President Robert Mugabe is currently out of the country in China on a trip that - as every year - has raised eyebrows, given Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis.

What is scurvy?

It is caused by a lack of Vitamin C in the diet, which means it's usually a disease of poor nutrition. Patients are commonly weak and anemic and suffer from localised edema (swelling) and swollen gums. Sometimes they can lose their teeth. Untreated, scurvy can be fatal. Elsewhere it  is known as a Victorian disease because it was common among sailors who were at ea for long periods without access to fresh fruit.

Any idea of how many patients are affected?

Not at the moment. Ingutsheni reportedly has 2 000 patients. Scurvy is not contagious. Ingutsheni is entirely dependent on government funding and has had problems before: in August it was reported that two members of staff were beaten up by patients in an incident blamed on a lack of sedative drugs.

Does scurvy just affect developing countries?

No. Scurvy was reported in Sydney hospitals in November. In that outbreak, the disease mainly affected overweight diabetic patients who weren't eating enough fruit.

Hang on - shouldn't Zimbabweans be avoiding fresh fruit anyway, given the typhoid outbreak?

No, although last year's typhoid outbreak in Zimbabwe WAS partly contained by an unusually short mango season. Unwashed and unpeeled fruits can help spread typhoid. Zimbabwe's health ministry says it has agreed on "comprehensive health education promotion" among communities to help stop the spread of typhoid. There are also fears of cholera.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  typhoid  |  health  |  scurvy  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
X
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.