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09 November 2011

Epidemic Hazard in Zimbabwe on Monday, 07 November, 2011 at 19:37 (07:37 PM) UTC.



Health concerns in Harare have continued to rise as scores of residents are now being monitored in the wake of a typhoid outbreak in the city. At least 50 people are under observation and 21 have been hospitalised following the confirmation of typhoid in two cases. The bacterial disease causes fever and diarrhea and the public are being urged to use good hygiene to prevent the situation from worsening. The typhoid fears come as residents are already on high alert for a potential return of cholera, which is similar to typhoid in that it is spread most easily through dirty water. The city and surrounding areas have been struck by severe water shortages, with some areas not being supplied with clean water for many weeks. The shortages have resulted in residents fighting each other while trying to access water from the limited number of boreholes across the city.

The boreholes were sunk back in 2008 when an outbreak of cholera swept through the city. The worst affected areas were Glen Norah, Budiriro and Glen View, and once again these areas are facing serious water shortages. To make matters worse, temperatures have reached record highs recently, with 36 degrees Celsius recorded in the capital last month. Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the water shortages and intermittent water supply is still leaving many areas in “permanent crisis.” “The council has admitted that the problem is beyond their control. But we think it is shocking that we as residents are receiving such shoddy service,” Moyo said. He also explained that, while boreholes had helped prevent the water shortages from plunging the entire city into crisis, these are only available in some areas. “Other residents don’t have access to boreholes so they are getting water from other places, and this means that the risk of drinking dirty water is very high. So we are on constant watch for diseases like cholera and typhoid,” Moyo said. He added: “Right now we are mobilising our members and talking about possible action against the council.”

Biohazard name: Typhoid Fever Outbreak
Biohazard level: 3/4 Height
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed


- RSOE