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Cholera in Chiredzi District

Written by Henry Madakadze   

WaterThe recent incidence of Cholera in Chiredzi District was dealt with in a massive way.

The outbreak was reported in Matibi II, at Old Boli Clinic. District Nursing Officer, Mr. Bhasera stated that the first case was recorded on the 3rd May 2012 and the last case was dealt with on 24th May 2012. In total, nineteen cases were reported, (14 male and 5 female), with only 9 of these patients testing positive for Cholera. The youngest patient was an 8 month old boy who fortunately tested negative and the oldest was a 90 year old male who tested positive and received immediate treatment. Villages affected in the area are Njinga, which recorded the highest number of patients, 11, followed by Manyise that had 4, Chingweme had 2. Takunyai and Ranganai both reported single persons respectively.

After attending to the first case, the personnel from the clinic notified Chiredzi General Hospital who responded wholly and rushed to the area with aid. A number of other stake holders also took part in eradicating this deadly disease from spreading any further. The provincial office of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Zimbabwe Water Sanitation and Hygiene (ZimWASH) responded to the situation and provided IV, oral re-hydration solution (ORS) and all other medication needed to curb the spread of cholera.

According to the analysis made by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare there was no connection between the patients and the majority were between the ages of 18 and 50 which is an active age group. Initial speculation was that the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae, the bacteria that causes Cholera, had been spread from a funeral that was held in a different village from those in question a few days back. However people who attended this funeral were not affected. Some suggestions were that it might have come from the local market at Boli Mhlanguleni commonly known as Bhakosi. This is a hub of activities where people come to trade. Traders come from different parts of the country; some come from as far as Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare. However, it is still a mystery what really caused this outbreak.

Mr. Bhasera has assured that personnel from the MoHCW are still on the ground to deal with any abnormalities. He also outlined that the outbreak was now under control and that all patients have been treated and discharged. No deaths were recorded.

About Cholera

Cholera is an extremely severe infection of the intestine that can affect both adults and children. It causes large amounts of watery diarrhoea and vomiting that can quickly lead to severe dehydration. Due to the vast loss of fluid, if it is not treated promptly, Cholera can kill within 24 hours. Although Cholera is treatable, it is easier to avoid.

Cholera is related to basic hygiene standards and the quality of drinking water. People get cholera by eating or drinking food or water that has been contaminated by the Cholera bacteria. Although cholera is mainly a water-borne disease, the bacteria is spread through human excreta. For you to catch Cholera you have to swallow something contaminated by that faeces. This may sound unlikely, but it happens all too easily, via:

  • Fluids (typically water)
  • Fingers
  • Food
  • Flies
  • and from Fields

Spread of Cholera

 

By following basic hygiene rules, exposure to Cholera is avoided:
  • Drink only treated or boiled water if in doubt, boil it.
  • Eat food while it is still hot if in doubt, heat it through thoroughly.
  • Leftover food should be protected against flies.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with CLEAN running water:
    • after visiting the toilet.
    • before preparing and handling food.
    • before eating.
  • At gatherings and funerals wash your hands in CLEAN water. The food prepared at the funeral of a Cholera victim is a very common source of new infections.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in CLEAN water.
  • People should always use toilets for relieving themselves. Where toilets are unavailable practice cat sanitation, (bury excreta).
  • Do not build toilets near water sources.
  • Be alert. Advise health workers of anyone with uncontrollable diarrhoea and vomiting which starts suddenly.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2012
 
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