Typhoid outbreak hits Harare, at least 1 dead

2016-12-28 07:21
Typhoid is spread via faecal oral contamination. (iStock)

Typhoid is spread via faecal oral contamination. (iStock)

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Harare - One person died in the Zimbabwean capital Harare while dozens were hospitalised after cases of suspected typhoid were reported during the Christmas holidays.

Authorities confirmed that one person died on Monday while more than 30 people suspected to have contacted the disease in Harare's Mbare high density suburb were treated at local hospitals.

A medical doctor, Ordwell Chanakira, confirmed the death adding that authorities were now on high alert.

"We urge people to maintain high levels of hygiene to ensure that we do not lose many lives to typhoid and other water borne diseases," said Chanakira.

Residents in the area have blamed the outbreak on dirt and called on authorities to scale up refuse collection and repair burst sewage pipes.

"Raw sewage is always flowing in the streets because council is not repairing the burst pipes - most of which were installed during the time of Rhodesian governement," said resident Beulah Gwashu. "As you can see, garbage is everywhere and the situation has become worse because of the rains that are falling these days."

'We are still investigating'

Another resident, Killian Mutuma, said he lost property worth thousands of dollars after flash floods affected his neighbourhood.

"Most people have nowhere to sleep and their food was soaked in the water that filled our houses following the heavy downpour. The other problem is that drainage pipes are blocked and council is doing nothing to rectify the situation," said Mutuma.

Zimbabwe's health minister David Parirenyatwa was not available for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said his council was still investigating the death of the person that died of suspected typhoid.

"We are still investigating whether the deceased died as a result of typhoid or not but we are also urging our ratepayers to help us in ensuring that they keep a clean environment," said Chidema. 

A cholera epidemic affected much of Zimbabwe from August 2008 until June 2009. The outbreak began in Harare's satellite town of Chutungwiza and spread to other provinces, resulting in President Robert Mugabe's administration declaring the outbreak a national emergency and requesting international aid. In total, 98 596 cases of cholera and 4 369 deaths were reported, making it the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded in the southern African country. 

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

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