Zimbabwe: Typhoid Outbreak Alert in Gweru, Two Confirmed Dead

In a suspected case of typhoid outbreak, Gweru City Council has confirmed two deaths as a result of the water borne disease.

In an interview, City Council Spokesperson, Vimbai Chingwaramutse confirmed that two people from Mkoba Infill had died from diarrhea.

“We received information through our Weekly Disease Surveillance from our clinics that they were two deaths which occurred due to diarrhea infections. Our response team is on the ground collecting stool and water samples in Mkoba 12 infill where the cases rose from,” said Chingwaramutse.

“We are still waiting for the results which will help us in our investigations,” added Chingwaramutse.

Meanwhile, Chingwaramutse urged the people of Gweru to visit the clinics in any case of diarrhea and to drink water from clean sources and carry on practicing hygiene in their communities.

Despite a recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO) that typhoid vaccines be considered for the control of endemic disease and outbreaks, uptake has remained limited in certain pockets of society including the Apostolic Sect.

Although largely controlled in other developed countries, typhoid remains endemic in many parts of the world and Zimbabwe is one country which is affected.

Typhoid is an important cause of febrile illness in crowded, low-income settings and since the Apostolic community falls under the lowest wealth quantile bracket, the risk of getting typhoid is high for members who use the bush system when at prayer sites and shrines.

A notable feature of typhoid is the presence of the bacteria in the stool or urine for a long period of time.

However, they should not be used as a distraction from improvements in sanitation and hygiene by members of the Apostolic community hence the targeted awareness campaigns on behavior change that continue to be done.

The use of the bush as an alternative for toilets has been strongly discouraged and AWET believes targeted awareness on behavior change and acceptance of vaccinations and immunizations during mass church gatherings has been encouraged and members have been told to make sure the environment is clean and food preparation areas are hygienic.

Typhoid is still a major problem in the country and official figures from the Ministry of Health and Child Care indicate that more than 6 675 suspected cases of typhoid, 181 confirmed cases and 11 deaths were reported countrywide between a typhoid outbreak which started in October 2017 in Harare and others in 2018.

Gweru City CouncilMinistry of Health and Child CareTyphoidWorld Health Organization (WHO)

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