Bloemhof diarrhoea cases reducing

2014-06-08 17:12
A resident fills his bucket with water after the water supply was restored in Boitumelong township in Bloemhof, North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

A resident fills his bucket with water after the water supply was restored in Boitumelong township in Bloemhof, North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The number of babies from Bloemhof, North West, who are being admitted to hospital for diarrhoea were drastically reducing, the provincial health department said on Sunday.

"There are only five babies who are being kept for observation," spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said.

Three children in the area, aged under two years old, have died from diarrhoea, complicated by dehydration.

Since 25 May, over 500 cases of people suffering from diarrhoea have been recorded at health care facilities in Bloemhof.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) ruled out cholera as the cause of the outbreak.

"E. coli bacteria were identified in a number of stool samples tested at Tshepong National Health Laboratory Services, and have been confirmed at the NICD Centre for Enteric Diseases as specific types of E. coli that can cause diarrhoea," it said.

Various diarrhoea-causing viruses were also identified in the samples.

The municipality has since drained the entire water system and sanitised it.

The NICD said the number of cases of diarrhoea had declined but there were still more cases reported than usual. This indicated that the outbreak was not yet over.

Residents were advised to make their drinking water safe by boiling it for one minute. Alternatively, one teaspoon of household bleach could be added to 20 litres of water to ensure it was potable.

On Friday, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo's spokesperson Sam Mokaila confirmed that Lekwa-Teemane municipal manager Andrew Makwapane had resigned amid the water contamination crisis.

Makwapane was suspended on Monday after a meeting by provincial and municipal leaders.

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