Johannesburg - A child has died after contracting severe diarrhoea from water contamination in Bloemhof, the North West health department said on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, there has been one death reported. A child under the age of one (year),” spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said.
“He died on arrival at one of the clinics on Wednesday.”
Over 200 other people reported to local clinics with similar symptoms between Saturday and Tuesday.
By 5pm on Wednesday, another 30 people had sought medical help.
“Today the situation has stabilised. There are no huge numbers of people coming in,” he said.
He dismissed claims of a cholera outbreak, saying it had not yet been confirmed.
“Cholera can only be declared when there have been laboratory tests done. We have not declared it cholera. We took samples from the water to go test them. We have not received the results from the laboratory.”
What had been confirmed was that Bloemhof's water source had been contaminated.
“The municipality was able to close the pipe which was the source for the contaminated water,” he said.
“The municipality also stopped water distribution to the community as it was clear the water was the source of contamination and that the water circulating was not safe.”
The pipe was closed on Tuesday.
“Since then there has been quite a considerable drop in diarrhoea cases.”
Water tankers had been deployed to the area, while schools had remained closed since Monday. - Sapa