Two die of suspected typhoid

Two deaths from suspected typhoid were announced by health officials on Monday, as concerns grow that the disease is spreading to areas outside the initial western suburbs of Harare.

Reports said the Health Ministry had recorded two deaths from suspected typhoid symptoms, but the department was waiting for the results of laboratory tests before confirming this. At least 2,000 cases have been reported since late October.

The deaths are reported to have occurred in the last week when health officials announced measures to contain the spread of the bacterial disease. But all indications are that the typhoid situation is getting worse.

Five magistrates and more than 20 other court officials became ill with suspected symptoms of the disease last week, leading to closure of the Harare Magistrates Court on Friday. There had been no running water in the court buildings for several weeks.

Authorities were said to be very concerned as typhoid outbreaks had so far been reported only in the western suburbs of the capital. It was feared that the cases documented at the Magistrates court could mean the disease had spread to the Central Business District.

Precious Shumba from the Harare Residents Trust, said the cases at the magistrates’ court are yet to be confirmed.

Shumba said some parts of the western suburbs were now receiving running water at least twice per week as promised by officials. But he described the water as “smelly, with “visible particles that settle at the bottom of a container” and “brownish in color”.

Mabvuku and Tafara still have no running water and residents are drinking from boreholes. According to Shumba, officials have not been visible in the affected communities and people do not have enough information about the causes of typhoid and how to protect themselves. Although any form of protection is extremely difficult when there is no access to clean drinking water. SW Radio Africa

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