Cholera detected in Limpopo

Cholera detected in Limpopo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Cholera detected in Limpopo. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Published Jan 17, 2024


Health authorities have urged communities in Limpopo to be cautious as laboratory results have confirmed a resurgence of cholera cases across parts of the province.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo urged communities to remain vigilant and maintain personal hygiene.

Two laboratory-confirmed cases of the waterborne disease were detected in the province recently.

The department said the first case detected was in the Vhembe district following the admission of a 43-year-old male patient who had tested positive for the disease, while the second case had been detected at Helen Franz hospital in the Capricorn District municipality.

In the second case, a 27-year-old man from Zimbabwe had presented himself at the hospital, indicating that he had been experiencing abdominal cramps, watery diarrhoea and vomiting since January 11.

The patient had travelled to Zimbabwe on December 9, and returned to South Africa on January 10.

The Health Department reported that the country remained on high alert for possible imported cases from neighbouring Zimbabwe, as the country was reportedly battling an outbreak of the disease that had claimed more than 200 lives to date.

Reports have indicated that the Health and Child Care Ministry in Zimbabwe believed there was a cumulative total of 18 100 suspected cholera cases, 323 suspected cholera deaths and 2 065 laboratory confirmed cases across the country.

It is reported that the outbreak had spread to more than the 17 traditional cholera hot spot districts, with the epicentre of the latest outbreak being Harare’s high-density suburb of Kuwadzana, which accounts for nearly half the reported cases, according to the authorities.

Despite the worrying state of affairs in the neighbouring country, the Department of Heath reported that the 43-year-old patient had since been discharged from the Musina hospital, while the second man, has been placed in isolation at the hospital, and remained in a stable condition.

Efforts to locate the people he had been in contact with were made, with the local outbreak response team promptly activated to conduct further investigations and provide health education to them.

With that in mind, the Health Department said it was collaborating with the Border Management Authority, and had intensified health screening at the Beitbridge border post to mitigate against imported cholera cases from Zimbabwe.

“We say to all travellers along N1 from Musina and other parts of the country, please avoid using known or suspected contaminated surfaces, especially in public places,” Dhlomo said.

People experiencing cholera-like symptoms, including stomach cramps, diarrhoea, dehydration and vomiting, were urged to present themselves at their nearest health facility.

Last year, South Africa faced its own uphill battle with the disease after it spread across five provinces and claimed 43 lives.

The Star

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