09/07/2014 A water delivery truck refills at Temba Water Treatment Plant following a diarrhea outbreak in Hamanskraal. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Pretoria - A probe by the City of Tshwane and the Gauteng Department of Health is under way following an outbreak of diarrhoea in Hammanskraal.

A red flag was raised after the Jubilee Gateway clinic and Temba community health centre in Hammanskraal saw and treated 25 people for the condition last Friday alone.

The situation reached crisis proportions as numbers continued to increase during the weekend, and by Wednesday afternoon 73 had been treated at the same facilities.

There were no fatalities and all patients were reacting to treatment and recovering well, Department of Health spokesman Prince Hamnca said.

The patients all had similar symptoms - abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting - and came from the same geographical area in the sprawling township located north of Pretoria.

“Based on this information, a food-borne disease outbreak was suspected and therefore necessary tests were done,” Hamnca said.

“Immediately after an outbreak was suspected, health promotion teams began with community awareness on safe drinking water practices in the affected clinics.

“Wide-scale education will continue to be provided to avoid unnecessary and uninformed alarm in the community that may be difficult to manage.”

On Tuesday, Tshwane issued a cautionary statement about possible diarrhoea in Hammanskraal pending confirmation after testing of the water by environmental health specialists based at the city.

Municipal spokesman Selby Bokaba said the test results revealed that the quality of water provided in the area met the required standards and had no microbial contamination.

Bokaba said tests were conducted at all supply reservoirs and water network pipelines in Tshwane’s Region 2, which includes Hammanskraal.

The tests were conducted at 10 of the 27 stands of the people who had complained of diarrhoea and related symptoms.

“The results indicated that the water quality met the required standards and ruled out any bacteria causing diseases,” Bokaba said.

“The city’s health services division sent water samples to an independent laboratory, Asparata, for verification of the results.

“The results upheld the test results conducted at the city’s laboratory.”

He said community members should rest assured that the water supplied by the City of Tshwane was safe for consumption.

Residents have been advised to check their food and drink sources for possible contamination.

They should also continue to take all the necessary health checks and consult their nearest clinic or health facilities for advice.

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