Tshwane residents warned to be on the lookout for cholera symptoms

Residents resorted to buying bottled water following the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal in May 2023. Picture: File

Residents resorted to buying bottled water following the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal in May 2023. Picture: File

Published Jan 18, 2024


Tshwane residents have been warned to be on the lookout for cholera symptoms after two cases were registered in Limpopo this week.

The two cases were both of Zimbabwean nationals aged 43 and 27, who upon their return from the December holidays presented to Musina and Hellen Franz Hospitals respectively with cholera like symptoms.

Tshwane was placed on high alert following the Department of Health's announcement on January 15 regarding the two new cases.

FF Plus councillor and MMC Rina Marx warned residents that although no cases of cholera have been reported in Tshwane so far in 2024, they were calling on residents to remain on the lookout for symptoms of cholera.

She added that her party and the Tshwane Department of Health, had already implemented precautionary plans to manage a possible cholera outbreak with the return of residents after the holiday.

“Among other things, health guidance on preventive measures, such as maintaining good hygiene and drinking clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration, was provided to residents,” Marx said.

Cholera is contracted through water or food that is contaminated with the cholera bacteria (vibrio cholera), and early treatment is critical.

Marx said residents were encouraged to visit their nearest healthcare facility as soon as possible if they experience watery diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting muscle cramps, fatigue and weakness, loose skin and a dry mouth, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

During the announcement of the two Limpopo cholera individuals who tested positive, the Limpopo department of health said the two were immediately admitted and tested.

“Cholera is a highly infectious and potentially life-threatening disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The most common symptoms include severe diarrhoea, vomiting, and dehydration. If left untreated, cholera can lead to severe complications and even death.Upon becoming aware of the suspected cases, immediate measures were taken to ensure the patients' admission and treatment in accordance with established protocols.

“Our medical teams are closely monitoring their condition and providing the necessary medical care to facilitate their recovery. We would like to emphasise that cholera is primarily transmitted through contaminated food and water. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to practise good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently with soap and clean water, especially before eating or preparing food,” said department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana.

He added that it was recommended to only consume properly cooked food and drink safe, treated water.

“We urge the public to remain calm but vigilant, and to promptly seek medical attention if they or anyone they know experience symptoms consistent with cholera. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital in minimising the impact of the disease and preventing its spread. Regular updates will be provided as new information becomes available,” Shikwamabana said.

In May last year 23 people lost their lives in Tshwane during a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria while scores of others were admitted in hospitals.

The outbreak was contained later in the year but with the department grappling to explain where the source of the disease was.

The Star

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