Three-year-old among 10 who have died as medics confirm Hammanskraal mystery illness is cholera
A three-year-old is among the 10 people who have died in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, after being admitted to hospital with diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
Gauteng MEC for health and wellness Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko on Sunday confirmed a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal.
Nkomo-Ralehoko said this was confirmed by lab results of tests on stool specimens of 19 people who presented at Jubilee District Hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea, stomach cramps and nausea.
She said since Monday, 95 people from Kanana, Suurman, Majaneng, Green Field, Carousel View, Lephengville and Sekampaneng have been seen at the hospital with similar symptoms.
“Currently, there are 37 people admitted at the hospital with cholera symptoms and unfortunately, 10 people have demised. The 10 people that died include a three-year-old and nine adults,” she said.
During her visit to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, Nkomo-Ralehoko said the department had made available two additional wards to accommodate patients who could not be immediately admitted on arrival.
“We have also mobilised additional resources which include medical and nursing staff from surrounding hospitals and local clinics to improve capacity for the growing need for medical care. Furthermore, additional linen has been delivered from the provincial laundry to activate the extra beds,” she said.
The provincial, district and municipality outbreak response teams continue to do advocacy work to raise awareness among communities. The teams have engaged with churches, local training institutions and various media platforms, as well as “loud-hailing in the affected areas”.
Nkomo-Ralehoko has urged the public to take extra precautionary measures and maintain proper hand hygiene.
“We would like to reiterate and urge the public to avoid known or suspected contaminated food, water and surfaces and wash hands thoroughly with soap before handling food or after using the bathroom to prevent possible infection.
“It is also important that people never drink water from unsafe sources such as rivers, dams, streams unless boiled or disinfected,” she said.
She said the department has also engaged with the national departments of water and sanitation and human settlements to add additional capacity to support the municipality with water infrastructure and related issues.
“We have already received two additional nurses last night and four are part of the shift now. These are from Tshwane district hospital and the local clinics around the area. The city will mobilise additional resources in the form of social workers to activate counselling and social relief for the affected families, she said.
Nkomo-Ralehoko has advised the public to report to their nearest health facilities if they experience symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration symptoms so they can receive treatment.
Meanwhile, the City of Tshwane has urged Hammanskraal residents not to drink tap water.
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