Gweru City Council has refuted claims on social media that a Mkoba family of five were being detained at a local hospital after testing positive of the deadly virus cholera.
Social media was awash with news that Gweru was now under threat of a major Cholera and typhoid outbreak, which sent residents on a panic mode.
Last year Cholera and typhoid outbreak claimed over six lives while bedding thousands of people last year, forcing former Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa to declare that the city’s water was unsafe for public consumption.
Director for Health services, Samson Sekenhamo said during a press conference that reports of a cholera outbreak in the city were false and misleading.
“There is no salmonellae and shigella which cause typhoid and diarrhoea in Mkoba. Social media reports are sending the wrong message to the people and we want to assure Gweru residents that as of now the message that is circulating on whatsapp of people being ferried by ambulances to hospitals are false alarms.
We do not have typhoid and cholera as of now and I urge residents to remain calm. Our partners such as UNICEF, WHO to name a few were calling me of what maybe the problem again,” he said.
He said the surveillance team is on high alert to investigate the situation in Mkoba suburbs.
“Our team is on high alert in Mkoba 19 and the situation is under control. We are going to hold door to door investigations to make sure that we get detailed feedback on the current situation. Any case that goes to the Gweru Provincial Hospital, Claybank, Midlands Private Hospital will be made known to use,” he added.
Gweru Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (GRRA) chairperson Cornelia Selipiwe urged council to improve their service delivery provisions in order to create a better relationship with residents.
“Water in the city is safe to drink despite the concerns we have heard but going forward I think the local authority should improve their service delivery to prevent issues such as cholera and typhoid outbreak from re-occurring. That will create a better relationship between the council and the residents,” he said.
Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. However,cholera outbreaks are still a serious problem in other parts of the world.
Every year, cholera causes an estimated 3 to 5 million cases, and 100,000 to 120,000 deaths. Cholera remains a major public health risk in the Region since the 7th cholera pandemic reached Africa in 1971, and the region has faced regular large outbreaks in recent years.