File picture.

JOHANNESBURG - Over 1,300 people so far have contracted diarrhoea in areas around Nelspruit in South Africa's Mpumalanga province.

The waterborne disease broke out in the Ehlanzeni region this year, reportedly killing two people last month. The provincial government said the testing of water, with help from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), was underway to determine the source of the outbreak.

"While the source of this alarming diarrhoea outbreak has not yet been identified, water tests are continuously being conducted by Ehlanzeni District Municipality, Department of Water and Sanitation, as well as the city of Mbombela repetitively on a daily basis,'' provincial government spokesman Zibonele Mncwango said in a statement.

''Although the provincial government is not too sure where the germ seems to be coming from, citizens are meanwhile being encouraged to exercise caution by pouring a teaspoon of bleach into 25 litres of water, mix well and wait for at least 30 minutes or boil the water for at least three minutes before drinking it.''

The two patients died at KaNyamazane clinic after falling ill.

The public is urged to wash hands with soap before eating, after using bathrooms, changing baby nappies and after throwing away rubbish. Diarrhoea is accompanied by passing loose stools, nausea, vomiting, which causes severe dehydration.

* Receive IOL's top stories via Whatsapp by sending your name to 0745573535.

African News Agency (ANA)