Cholera death toll rises to six in South Africa

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The death toll as a result of cholera infection has risen to five in Limpopo, while in Mpumalanga two people were found to have contracted the disease over the weekend.

This brings to six the total number of people who have died since the outbreak of the water-borne disease two weeks ago.

One person died in KwaZulu-Natal last week after being diagnosed with the deadly virus.

Limpopo department of health and social development spokesman Phuti Seloba said two people died at the weekend after contracting the disease.

One of them died shortly after he was admitted to the Messina Hospital, while another one died at a rehydration centre in Madimbo, an area outside Musina that is used by most of the Zimbabweans who cross into South Africa.

Of the total number of deaths, two were South Africans who had allegedly visited Zimbabwe and the rest are Zimbabweans.

The disease was first diagnosed in Zimbabwe in mid-November.

This is after it was discovered that people in that country used contaminated river water for drinking and other household uses. The water allegedly came from a burst sewerage pipe.

Efforts are being made to deal with the problem, while a number of cholera sufferers are being attended to at various hospitals in the province.

Seloba said they were planning to send a doctor to Madimbo since Zimbabweans working on farms in the area were flocking to the local clinic for treatment.

"The Madimbo area is giving us a headache," Seloba said.

"We have discovered that the area is the hardest hit after a large number of patients had gone to the local clinic for treatment and were found to be suffering from cholera.

"We will definitely send a doctor to be on stand-by in the area to deal with those who are chronically ill."

Departmental records yesterday showed that at least 363 patients had been treated in various hospitals in the province.

Eighty-one of them have been admitted to the Musina, Siloam and Donald Fraser hospitals.

"Though more people keep coming for treatment at various hospitals in the province, we are confident we will ensure their lives are saved," he said.