Alfred Moselakgomo and Riot Hlatshwayo
The number of diarrhoea cases in Delmas, Mpumalanga, is fast approaching 700 after it was established yesterday that 697 people had been treated for the condition since it broke out on October 22.
The provincial health department has since increased the number of nurses and extended operating hours for clinics in the area.
Mpumalanga health spokesman Mpho Gabashane said that water samples collected at a point of use, tested negative for all bacteria that cause diarrhoea.
This had prompted the department to conduct further tests for viruses and the chemical content in all water sources.
"The results of these tests reveal that we may have contamination of untreated water in the boreholes," said Gabashane yesterday.
He said the water in the boreholes had not been filtered through a purification process.
Gabashane emphasised that the department could not find conclusive evidence to link tap water with the diarrhoea outbreak. He urged the community to boil all water before consumption as a precautionary measure.
He said the department noted allegations that a 17-month-old baby died as a result of diarrhoea in the area and that all information relevant to this case was being investigated.
The executive mayor of Delmas, Jack Rapatsa, said his municipality is working with other relevant stakeholders to find a solution to the problem.