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South Africa issues cholera alert after outbreak in Zimbabwe


Cape Town   –      South Africa on Monday issued a cholera alert following an outbreak in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

“There is a significant risk that travellers from the outbreak-affected area may present with cholera in South Africa,’’ the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

Healthcare workers countrywide, especially those in Limpopo Province which borders Zimbabwe, should be on high alert for suspected cholera cases, the NICD said.

It urged the public, especially those living in close proximity to the border with Zimbabwe, to use safe water and practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation as of Sept. 11, almost 2,000 suspected cholera cases, including 24 deaths, were reported in Zimbabwe.

The outbreak is linked to inadequate supply of safe piped water and subsequent use of unsafe water supplies, including boreholes and wells.

As of Sept. 13, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of cholera in South Africa, the NICD said.
However, 16 people have died in the past week from a suspected cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe that has now spread to the Midlands province.

Although cholera cases hit Zimbabwe almost yearly, many families still bear the scars of a cholera outbreak between Aug. 2008 and June 2009, when 98,596 cases of cholera were reported, resulting in 4,369 deaths across the country.

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