Cholera cases rise over holidays

CHOLERA cases continued to rise after the Christmas and New Year holidays, with 252 new suspected cases and five deaths reported on Wednesday countrywide.

On the same day, there were 16 laboratory confirmed cholera cases.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care on Wednesday showed that Chiredzi had 49 cases, Chitungwiza 32, Mazowe 27, Kuwadzana 21, Glen View 20, Kariba 16, Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital 16, Budiriro 16 and Buhera 14.

Other areas that reported cases are Mutare 1, Rutsanana 5, Highfield 5, Mbire 4, Gweru and Gutu had 3, Chipinge 2, Rushinga 2, Masvingo 2 and UMP 2.

Chirumhanzu, Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Zaka, Murehwa, Mutoko and Mutare reported one case each.

Fifty-seven districts have reported cholera cases so far, and as of Wednesday, 221 were cases hospitalised.

Since the outbreak of cholera, Zimbabwe has recorded 15 137 suspected cholera cases, 1 759 confirmed cases, 14 578 recoveries, 67 confirmed deaths and 266 suspected deaths.

City of Harare director of health Dr Prosper Chonzi yesterday said cholera cases were on the rise again, due to the ongoing rains being experienced.

Giving an update on the cholera situation in the capital, Dr Chonzi encouraged residents to be careful.

“Cholera cases continue to rise and we have plans to address such issues such as water, sanitation and hygiene but our biggest problem now is the fact that people are coming to our treatment facilities very sick,” he said.

“They seem to be taking this condition for granted and taking too long to make decisions to come to our facilities (and) therefore, we are losing a lot of patients unnecessarily.”

“As of this weekend, we had 90 patients admitted at Beatrice (Road) Infectious Diseases (Hospital). If only people can come to our facilities early, they can be treated for free. The medicine is there and they should not wait for the disease to get stronger.”

Dr Chonzi said people can use the home methods they have been taking all along, and encouraged the residents to treat all water sources and to practice good personal hygiene and go to healthcare facilities early.

He said the case fatality rate was higher in Harare and nationally after the festive season as people became complacent and dropped guard.

“They (people) think that we have now come on top of the situation and unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in numbers from all over the city,” said Dr Chonzi.

“The epicentre was in the western suburbs, but now we are receiving patients from Mount Pleasant and Borrowdale.

“So, people should be very much aware that we still have the outbreak and the measures must be taken to end this outbreak, otherwise we will go back to the 2008 outbreak.” 

The first cholera outbreak was reported on February 12 last year in Chegutu town.


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