4 000 cholera cases reported in Mpuma

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mpumalanga - More than 4 000 cases of cholera have been confirmed in Mpumalanga and 26 people have died since the outbreak of the disease earlier this year.

The areas most affected include Mbombela North which has a reported 2 206 cases, Bushbuckridge with 1 443, Mbombela south with 184, Nkomazi with 166, Thabachweu with 161 and Umjindi with six cases.

The deaths were reported in the following areas, Mbombela North, Thabachweu and Bushbuckridge where 22 people died.

The provincial Department of Health said, however, the number of admitted people in hospital has declined and only 15 people were on treatment.

Departmental spokesperson Mpho Gabashane said the department was continuing with its door-to-door campaign and an intensive mass mobilisation and health education campaign in all the affected areas.

"We have up until now reached 86 178 people, visited 7 061 household during our door to door campaign, visited 63 schools to conduct health education, attended 44 funerals and 20 churches for mass mobilisation."

In a bid to educate people about the danger of the disease, the department has distributed over 32 795 stickers and leaflets on health education, 5328 750ml of Jik and 1 6643 sachets of chlo floc for water treatment in all affected areas.

"With all these interventions put in place, and more importantly with the support from the community, we can indeed continue to bring down incidents of cholera in our province," Mr Gabashane said.

He further called on communities to internalise basic hygiene practices as a cornerstone for prevention of many communicable diseases especially waterborne and anyone who suspects the have cholera to report to the nearest health facility for treatment.

The water-borne disease was first detected in Musina, Limpopo, last year and it has since spread to other provinces.

Last week, the South African National Parks (SanParks) said they would be conducting tests to the rivers and streams that run through their parks, especially the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, despite their being no report of any visitor contracting the disease.

SanParks Chief Executive Officer, Dr David Mabunda said that while tourists do not drink directly from the rivers, it was imperative to ensure they remain free from the disease.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has now passed the 3 000 mark and 57 702 have been affected since August last year, according to the World Health Organisation.