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Officials declare cholera outbreak following test results

The department of health in Gauteng has declared a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal.
The department of health in Gauteng has declared a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal.
Image: 123RF/Michael Heim

A cholera outbreak has been declared in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, after the official number of deaths increased to 10, including a three-year-old.

Gauteng department of health spokesperson Motalatale Modiba told Sowetan on Sunday afternoon that the acute diarrhoeal disease was detected during tests conducted on stools of patients.

Modiba warned residents in Hammanskraal to refrain from drinking water that directly comes from the taps, adding that members of the public in the north of Pretoria township who experienced a stomachache should immediately present themselves to a health facility.

The department said since Monday, 67 patients from Kanana, Suurman, Majaneng, and Green Field in Hammanskraal sought medical care at the Jubilee District Hospital after presenting with symptoms of diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and vomiting in the past few days.

MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko visited the hospital on Sunday.

Modiba said the provincial and district outbreak response teams had been dispatched to hospitals and the affected areas to “further investigate the source of the diarrhoeal disease and to raise awareness among communities”.

“Already, stool specimen has been collected from some of the affected people. The results are expected from the laboratory during the course of the weekend.

“The Outbreak Response Teams remain on high alert, with advocacy and education work continuing especially targeting the immediately affected areas,” he said.

City of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba has urged communities in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas not to use water from taps for drinking purposes following a health outbreak in the area.

“While the water supplied by the city in Hammanskraal is not potable, however, the city does provide potable [drinkable] water through 52 water tankers to informal settlements three times a week, and 40 water trucks to formal areas daily in Region 2,” said Bokaba.

“This is done to ensure that communities drink safe water. The city regularly conducts tests on the quality of water provided to our communities, and following this outbreak, comprehensive tests will be done on the entire water distribution network.

“Water samples have been collected in the affected areas and taken for tests and results are expected on Wednesday to determine the cause of the outbreak. Some of the cases reported are from the Moretele area, which is not supplied by the City of Tshwane. The outbreak response teams (ORT) are on the ground conducting surveillance monitoring and doing sampling of the water.”

Bokaba said health facilities were on high alert to urgently attend to the patients with symptoms.

“The city would like to encourage residents in the affected areas to regularly wash the containers they use to draw water from the water tankers with Jik detergent, and to boil water drawn from other sources before drinking it. Communities are also urged not to conduct religious activities such as baptism in the rivers or streams,” he said.

newsdesk@sowetan.co.za

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