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Typhoid spreads in Harare

City of Harare spokesperson Lesley Gwindi yesterday said the number of confirmed cases remained at two, adding that all the cases where from Dzivarasekwa high-density suburb.

“We are working with our partners to contain the outbreak and I would say we are on top of the situation,” Gwindi said.  “We have identified a shallow well in Dzivarasekwa and our Health Department will soon be closing it down.

“With the help of our partners, we are working on providing an option before closing the well and as part of this. Five boreholes are being sunk in Dzivarasekwa.”

But the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) said it feared the disease could spread across the city, claiming that it had received reports that seven people from Mabvuku had also been admitted at the hospital due to the disease.

Gwindi however, said he had not received any information on any cases from outside Harare. HRT coordinator Precious Shumba urged charity organisations to intervene before the outbreak of the disease in other suburbs.

“People in such suburbs as Msasa Park and Glen Norah are also using shallow wells and we tried to intervene by asking Unicef to assist them with bowsers,” said Shumba.

“Mabvuku, Tafara, Budiriro and Glenview are among other suburbs which need urgent intervention if this outbreak is to be contained.” Intermittent water supplies have forced many in Harare’s high-density suburbs to draw water from shallow wells among other unprotected water sources, posing a threat of water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera.

Insects feeding on excreta may occasionally transfer the typhoid bacteria Salmonella through poor hygiene and sanitation. The disease’s symptoms usually develop one to three weeks after exposure to the bacteria. They include poor appetite, abdominal pain, headaches, high fever of up to 40 degrees Celsius, generalised aches and pains, lethargy, diarrhoea and constipation.

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