Harare City Council has allayed fears of a cholera outbreak in Mbare saying reported incidents of diarrhoea in the populous high-density suburb were isolated and not cholera-related.
NewsDay yesterday carried a report where several Mbare residents claimed to have contracted the deadly disease, whose symptoms include acute stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting.
An official with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare’s Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Portia Mananganzira also said there were cases of cholera in Mashonaland West and Manicaland but would not confirm the Mbare outbreak .
She, however, said it would not be surprising given the proximity of the outbreak to the region. Chairman of the Harare Residents Trust in Mbare’s Majubheki area, Samuel Mapurisa, had issued a statement claiming at least 20 families had been affected by the outbreak.
City director of health services Stanley Mungofa said the city fathers were on high alert in this rainy season.
Mbare’s Majubheki residents complained of cases of vomiting and diarrhoea after drinking visibly dirty water running from their taps
“No single case of cholera has been reported and we have not forgotten what happened in 2008,” said Mungofa.
“From the health point of view, Harare water is potable and of good quality.
“We carried water quality tests in Mbare’s different sections today and we found that quality levels are within the World Health Organisation guidelines on water.
“We also did tests in different areas in the city and we can confirm that the water is potable.”
Mungofa said the complaints by residents might be linked to something else but not contaminated water.
“We do believe that whatever it is, it is not linked to water and we are at loss for what it might be,” he said.
Mungofa, who was flanked by the acting town clerk who is also the Director of Water, Engineer Christopher Zvobgo, and city spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi however said residents should maintain hygienic standards to avoid a cholera outbreak.
“We still want to contain and warn residents to practise hygiene. Keeping food clean, washing hands before taking food and taking food while it is still hot,” he said.
Although Mungofa said they had not received any cases of cholera, according to information supplied from Matapi Clinic yesterday, nine cases of watery diarrhoea were reported as of last week, while only one case of bloody diarrhoea was reported.
In November last year, 29 cases of watery diarrhoea and four cases of bloody diarrhoea were reported.