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100 dead as cholera rages through Zimbabwe

Schools have been closed and gatherings restricted as a resurgent cholera outbreak rampages through Zimbabwe, with diarrhoea surveillance being activated countrywide and cooking banned at funerals in hotspot areas.

News24 reports that 4 500 cases and almost 100 deaths have been recorded since February. Authorities said the disease was now present in 41 districts across the country’s 10 provinces.

The latest series of outbreaks was first recorded in five suburbs of Harare last Monday.

Harare has had no running water for days, and there are fears the disease could spread fast in the city, which has a population of almost 2m people.

The government has blamed contamination of Harare’s main water sources, Lake Chivero and the Manyame Dam, for the outbreak, as well as ageing water pipes.

“The main challenges are heavy pollution of water supply dams (Chivero and Manyame) leading to excessive use of water treatment chemicals; aged units constantly breaking down, aged water supply infrastructure leading to a reduction in treatment capacity and high water losses, and failure by the City of Harare to pay for water treatment chemicals to meet the current treatment capacity of 520 megalitres per day,” said Information Minister Jenfan Muswere during a post-Cabinet media briefing.

In Buhera, where there is also water crisis, the government said it was moving ahead with borehole drilling and public awareness programmes about the danger of cholera.

The Ministry of Health said as of 3 October, there had been 904 laboratory-confirmed cases and 74 hospitalisations, with a national recovery rate of 97%.

If neglected, the acute diarrhoeal disease can cause death in as little as six hours.


News24 article – Cholera spreading fast in Zimbabwe, with funeral restrictions, calls to close schools (Open access)


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