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22 November 2011

Epidemic in Zimbabwe on Sunday, 20 November, 2011 at 04:50 (04:50 AM) UTC.

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Cases of typhoid are quickly spreading in Harare and many people have been admitted at the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital in the capital. The bacterial disease, which spreads most easily through dirty water, causes vomiting, fever and diarrhea. The public have been urged to maintain hygiene in order to prevent the situation from worsening. The public is warned to abstain from buying food products being sold in the open. The Harare City Council Health director, Prosper Chonzi said that although no death have been reported, fears of typhoid spreading is a cause of concern due to lack of water supplies. The typhoid attack comes as residents of different suburbs are already on high alert of the potential cholera outbreak, which is spread after consumption of dirty water. Most suburbs have been experiencing severe water shortages while other residential sites have not had water for a long time. Many boreholes were sunk in 2008 after the deadly outbreak of cholera in which more than 4000 lives were lost. The worst affected areas were Glen Norah, Budiriro and Glen View, and these areas are still facing serious water shortages. Several pressure groups recently petitioned finance minister to increase funding for health care as Zimbabwe is signatory to the Abuja declaration of 2001 in which African leaders agreed to allocate at least 15% to 20% of annual national budgets in order to improve the health delivery system. According to reports by human rights observers, trends show that Zimbabwean population continue to be affected by common preventable and treatable diseases as less than 10% of the population can access adequate health care. Patients with typhoid have been admitted and are being treated at various clinics, hospitals and at the Beatrice infectious diseases hospital in Simon Mazorodze road in the capital.
Biohazard name: Typhoid Fever Outbreak
Biohazard level: 2/4 Medium
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. "Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures", see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.
Status: confirmed