WHO warns of more people contracting cholera

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By Charity Ruzvidzo

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged the Zimbabwean government to address the cholera outbreak in the country as the number of deaths continue to increase.

Twenty people had succumbed to cholera and 2 300 suspected cases had been recorded in Harare by Tuesday.

A situational report prepared by the Ministry of Health and WHO indicates that more people are in danger of co-infection of both cholera and typhoid.

The report notes that the strain of cholera bacteria that was isolated in patients in Harare has been determined to be resistant to first line antibiotics ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone. 

Newly appointed Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, on Tuesday declared the cholera outbreak in Harare a state of emergency.

The declaration will necessitate the state to quickly mobilise resources to contain the disease.

The minister said he will engage relevant authorities such as the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry and the Harare City Council to come up with long term strategies that will address cholera outbreaks in the country.

The outbreak has largely been attributed to drinking contaminated water and food and this is closely linked to inadequate health environmental management.

A massive cholera outbreak hit Zimbabwe in 2008 recording 11,735 cholera cases and more than 4 000 deaths affecting all provinces in the country.

In the same year, WHO received reports from the Ministries of Health in neighbouring countries confirming cholera cases had occurred in Musina (South Africa), Palm Tree (Botswana) and Guro district (Mozambique).

A spate of cholera outbreaks across Africa has prompted the largest cholera vaccination drive in history, with more than two million people across the continent set to receive oral cholera vaccine (OCV).

Health experts urged communities to protect themselves against cholera by adhering to proper food safety practices as well as to good personal hygiene.

They concur that early rehydration at home by using oral rehydration salts was paramount to diminishing mortality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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