Harare, March 2, 2014 – An outbreak of typhoid is feared in Mabvuku amid reports that nine cases of the disease have so far been treated at a council clinic in the suburb.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) said it became aware of the outbreak after its ward leaders noted a rapid increase of diarrhoeal diseases, prompting them to make enquire“ Mabvuku Poly Clinic officials admitted that they have treated typhoid patients and are suspecting that more residents could be affected,” said a Chra spokesperson.
However, Harare City Council director of health services, Prosper Chonzi said he was not aware of any typhoid outbreaks.
“If there was an outbreak I would know about it. Since the beginning of the year there have only been seven cases, three from outside Harare, two from Ruwa, one from Mufakose and another from Hatcliffe,” he said.
Chonzi said residents might be mistaking other illnesses for typhoid as there were many cases of diarrhoea.
“There are currently many cases of diarrhoea and it is possible people are mistaking those for typhoid but I will dispatch a team to the area to investigate,” he said.
Typhoid is a systemic bacterial disease that is characterised by a fever, headache, malaise, spots on the chest, and a non-productive cough in the early stages of the illness. Constipation and diarrhoea are also common.
The mode of transmission is the faecal-oral route, through ingestion of bacteria in food or water contaminated with faeces or even the urine of infected persons.
This happens in conditions with poor sanitation and inadequate supply of clean water.
However, typhoid used to be a very rare condition in Zimbabwe but the progressive deterioration of the water and sewerage reticulation infrastructure resulted in the disease becoming common.
In areas where sanitary facilities are well-developed and maintained, typhoid has been virtually eliminated.