Probe into diarrhoea outbreak after 30 babies die

2013-07-10 14:20

A diarrhoea outbreak in Durban which has caused the deaths of 30 babies is being investigated.

Communicable disease services head Dr Ayo Olowolagba said the investigation by the eThekwini municipality would seek to determine whether the outbreak was caused by the rotavirus or something else.

The 30 babies died in the past two months.

More than 1 000 cases were reported in May and June, and the areas most affected were Inanda, Ntuzuma, uMlazi, Amoati, Mayville, and uMbumbulu.

Olowolagba said the situation was stabilising because of campaigns conducted in communities, hospitals, and clinics, educating people about diarrhoea.

Water had been ruled out as the cause and rotavirus, which was related to poor hygiene, had been cited as a possible cause.

National Laboratory Service spokesperson Shabir Madhi said in a statement that 242 specimens were received from hospitals and clinics in the eThekwini municipality in June, with 55% of diarrhoea cases caused by rotavirus.

“Rotavirus causes mild to severe diarrhoea in young children and tends to be more common during the colder, drier months of the year,” Madhi said.

Olowolagba said some of the babies that had diarrhoea had been vaccinated against rotavirus.

“Vaccination against rotavirus does not guarantee that a child will not get infected with diarrhoea, as the vaccine is 77% effective,” he said.

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