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New cholera cases reported in Congo and Zimbabwe

The health departments of DRC and Zimbabwe have revealed the presence of new cases of cholera infection and deaths that have added to the overall fatalities from the recent outbreak in the two countries.

Zimbabwe’s Director of Epidemiology and Disease control Dr Portia Manangazira said diseases like cholera are indicator diseases, they show a lack of clean water and adequate sanitation. Image: @MoHCCZim

Zimbabwe’s health ministry formally notified the World Health Organisation(WHO) about the outbreak on April 5 2018 after the first confirmed.

Zimbabwe’s Director of Epidemiology and Disease control, Dr Portia Manangazira, said the first cholera cases in Harare were reported on March 23 2018.

“To date [in Harare] there has been a total of 13 patients suspected, seven of which are confirmed and three deaths.

“We also have an ongoing cholera outbreak in Chitungwiza, in Stone ridge. It’s an area that is largely an informal settlement but we’ve also seen spread of that cholera to St Marys,” Dr Manangazira said.

In Chitungwiza city there were 11 reported cases, two tested positive and resulted in one death in Nyatsime. The patient in Nyatsime died under supervision.

“We have realised that there are capacity gaps particularly within the central hospitals because normally they are high-level referral institutions. We would also want them to be sensitive,” Dr Manangazira added.

She said diseases like cholera are indicator diseases. Outbreaks mean provisions such as safe water and waste management have not been taken care of.

WHO describes cholera as an extremely virulent disease cause by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Cholera has been hard to eradicate in many developing countries and is an indicator of inequity and lack of social development. According to WHO 21 000 to 143 000 deaths occur due to the illness.

Intensive rains increase cases in Congo

Heavy rains and flooding in January 2018 worsened the outbreak in Kinshasa Province, DRC. The frequency of cases reported since the outbreak started at the end of November 2017 jumped from five cases per week to 100 after the rains started. The frequency of reported cases has since dropped.

Many cases of cholera in Congo are in regions along the Congo River.

The ministry of health in Congo reported a new suspected outbreak on March 22 2018 to the WHO after two patients from Liranga village in Impfondo District with serious cases of watery diarrhoea. Liranga lies along the Congo river.

As of April 20 2018 two deaths have been reported from 46 suspected cases in the Plateaux and Likouala departments.

Rapid response teams have been deployed to these two department to conduct investigations and to offer assistance to local health facilities. National Armed Forces Medical Services have set up a treatments units with a tent and beds in Mingolo.

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