SEVENTEEN cases of typhoid have been confirmed at Matapi Flats in Mbare and authorities have since set up a 24-hour clinic to manage patients. The city’s director for health services, Dr Prosper Chonzi, told ZBC News yesterday that 12 patients have since been transferred to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospitals (BRIDH). “So far, we have confirmed 17 cases of typhoid,” said Dr Chonzi.
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“Those that are too sick to be managed in the clinic are being transferred to BRIDH. There is an ambulance that is there 24 hours to ferry the sick patients. “As we speak, 12 people are admitted at our BRIDH. We have not yet had any fatalities; we hope that it remains like that. If people came in early, we will be able to manage the treatment in terms of antibiotics.”
Local authorities are now considering introducing vaccines — which are already being given to council workers working at council’s sewerage treatment works — to high-risk areas. Dr Chonzi said, “We want to introduce a vaccine for certain areas in the city. If we are not able to supply water; if we are not able to supply sanitation, maybe this may prevent people from falling sick and this is at very early stages.
“But we are already giving vaccines to our employees who work at the sewerage treatment works such as Firle (Waste Water Treatment Plant); so we are thinking maybe in those high-risk areas, we may consider introducing a vaccine.” It is suspected that the recent typhoid outbreak could have been caused by poor water sanitation and overpopulation.
The new outbreak happens two months after Government declared Harare typhoid free. Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa announced in August that the last confirmed case of typhoid in Harare was on June 30, 2017. “We have put in place control measures that include case follow-up and treatments in the community and use of safe water at point of use with chlorination of borehole water.
“We also stopped the use of contaminated boreholes in affected areas with emphasis on good hygiene practices,” said Minister Parirenyatwa then. “Harare City Council took part and made sure that water was available 24 /7, the community was taught about health especially about good hygiene practices,” he added.
Government has been trying to prevent the resurgence of the disease through deploying enhanced surveillance systems and avoiding shortages in key suburbs. “The main issue now is to avoid any new cases from spreading once they are detected or re-occur. This will require enhanced surveillance and avoiding shortage of water in key suburbs,” said Minister Parirenyatwa. Health experts say typhoid is a communicable disease that is usually manifested by fever, diarrhoea, prostration, headache and intestinal inflammation.