Diarrhoea deaths probed

2013-07-10 14:11

Durban - A diarrhoea outbreak in Durban that has caused the deaths of 30 babies, is being investigated, it emerged on Wednesday.

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.

  • Christina Setloboko - 2013-07-10 14:26

    very sad indeed. everything seems to be going wrong in this country.

  • Heidie van Dyk - 2013-07-10 15:06

    Test the water!!!!!

      SunshinyDay - 2013-07-10 16:13

      "Water had been ruled out as the cause"- if it were the water there would be all sorts of people sick, anyone drinking the water. The problem too is that people sometimes wait a very long time before getting the kid off to the doctor. When I worked in a pharmacy, I had a mom and a granny come in saying that their little boy has been throwing up with an upset stomach for TWO WEEKS before they came in, they didn't even consider going to a doctor.

      Riëtte Nöthling - 2013-07-10 17:13

      What do they expect from areas where raw sewerage runs in the streets? The Rotavirus spreads via anal-facial contact, so it's mostly due to dirty living circumstances.

  • Mia Brown - 2013-07-10 15:55

    So sad, and so unnecessary!

  • warren-rodel - 2013-07-10 17:34

    How can you rule out something so huge so quick? Avoiding responsibility again?

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