Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The death toll from the cholera outbreak has risen to 49, with over 10 000 people being screened for the disease at various treatment centres.
This was said by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo when he presented a ministerial statement on the outbreak to the National Assembly yesterday.
The outbreak was declared a national disaster.
“As of the 26th of September 2018, more than 10 000 persons have presented to the screening and treatment centres and 6 645 suspected cases reported of which 96 of them tested positive for Vibrio cholerae and 49 have died to date,” said Dr Moyo.
“I must also make mention that 21 percent of the cases and a similar proportion of the deaths recorded to date are children below the age of five, the youngest patient being eight months old. We realise that this is a unique outbreak from those experienced earlier in that there have been high levels of resistance to antibiotics commonly available, high fatalities despite the outbreak being predominantly urban and in that it is happening in the same areas that are heavily affected by
typhoid and that raises the possibility of dual infections.”
Dr Moyo said Government had already initiated plans for dual vaccination of cholera and typhoid.
“Plans for vaccination for both cholera and typhoid are at an advanced stage with the cholera vaccine expected today (yesterday),” he added.
He said various initiatives had been put in place to deal with the disease including setting of treatment centres in Glen View, Budiriro and Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital while a screening unit had been established at Harare Central Hospital.
“Surveillance has been intensified in Harare and nationwide to pick cases early for effective treatment at the static clinics,” he said.
Dr Moyo said all provinces and city health departments were on high alert and had activated their rapid response teams to deal with the outbreak.
He said the outbreak required constant supply of clean water and Government had installed mobile toilets in the epicentres of the disease in Glen View and Budiriro while safe water was also being provided to schools.
Other initiatives that had been adopted by Government and supported by well-wishers and other donors include provision of aqua tablets and detergents to promote hygiene.
Government has already provided over $6 million for emergency rehabilitation of water and sewer pipes as part of measures to deal with the outbreak.
Other long term solutions to deal with the issue of water and sewer reticulation in Harare are being sought.