Africa Health

Wed 24 May 2023:

The Gauteng Department of Health says the number of people, who have lost their lives following a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, now stands at 17.

As of 23 May 2023, the provincial department said 165 patients have been seen at Jubilee District Hospital, including 18 that have been transferred to other health facilities in Tshwane.

According to the latest update, the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of cholera stands at 29, while 67 patients are currently for gastrointestinal infection.

“The department continues to urge people to ensure proper hand hygiene, which includes thorough washing of hands with water and soap or alcohol-based sanitiser, before handling food and after using the toilet,” the Health Department said.

It is also calling on the public to report to their nearest health facilities when they present with diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration symptoms, so they can receive medical treatment.

“We further reiterate the call for the public to avoid consuming known or suspected contaminated food and water.”

SAnews reported on Tuesday that Gauteng and Free State are the hardest hit, while another case of cholera has been detected in another province yet to be confirmed.

South Africa reported its first cholera death in February after the virus arrived in the country from Malawi.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, the Head of the Centre for Enteric Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Dr Juno Thomas, said the hallmark of cholera is acute watery diarrhoea.

She advised healthcare workers to treat all diarrhoea cases as suspected cholera until proven otherwise.

“This is defined as diarrhoea lasting less than seven days, which is typically watery, non-bloody liquid stools that may contain a bit of mucous,” she explained, adding that diarrhoea is three or more stools within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the City of Tshwane said it would increase the provision of water tankers from three days to five days a week in the affected areas until 31 May 2023.

The city also encourages residents in the affected areas to regularly wash the containers they use to draw water from the water tankers with bleach detergent and to boil water drawn from other sources before drinking it.

The city said it is still awaiting the confirmatory test results from the NICD to determine the actual source of contamination.

The city also expressed its heartfelt condolences to the families of the residents who have succumbed to the illness and wished a speedy recovery to those who are hospitalised.






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