Cholera cases continue to rise

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

The number of cholera cases continues to soar despite the government's claim that they have the situation under control.

Since the start of the outbreak in mid-November last year nearly 1600 people across the country have been diagnosed with acute diarrhoea and 13 have died.

At the weekend a further 33 suspected cases of the disease were reported in Limpopo, the province hardest hit.

On Tuesday five people died of diarrhoea-related conditions in GaSekororo, near Tzaneen.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the victims had cholera.

Limpopo health spokesman Phuti Seloba said tests were being conducted to determine whether all suspected cases were linked to the Zimbabwean outbreak.

National Health Department spokesman Fidel Hadebe said there was no need to panic since measures were in place to prevent and treat the disease.

"The cases, both confirmed and suspected, seem to be confined largely to Limpopo and Gauteng," he said.

"Limpopo has recorded 1510 and Gauteng 21 cases."

Cholera broke out in Zimbabwe in August and by mid-November had resulted in 6072 suspected cases and nearly 1 000 deaths.

This forced victims to cross the border to SA to seek treatment.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 30000 people in Zimbabwe have been diagnosed and the number is increasing daily.

Fears are rife that locals and foreign nationals who have visited Zimbabwe might have contracted the disease.

Hadebe says awareness and treatment guidelines have been distributed to all provinces.