The local authority here has deployed more than 40 health workers in Mbizo, Amaveni and other high-density suburbs to curb the spread of a fatal diarrhoea outbreak which has so far claimed the life of at least one person in the town.
In a report presented to council last week, Kwekwe City Council’s director of health Phyllis Gochera said the city reported a 52% increase in cases of diarrhoea, which shot from 140 reported cases in May to 213 last month.
The report also indicated that one child had succumbed to the disease at Amaveni Clinic.
An official in the health department said council suspected the outbreak was caused by a virus called rotavirus although laboratory tests were still being carried out.
“We have carried out tests on stools of those affected, but we have not detected any pathogens because our labs are only equipped to detect viruses, not bacteria.
“We have since sent samples to Harare for tests although we suspect it could be the rotavirus,” said the official who declined to be named.
Said Gochera: “This is normally a hygiene issue and as you can see from the report those affected are aged five and below.
“We are therefore trying to ensure people stop eating cold foodstuffs, that they wash hands after using the toilet and maintain a generally clean environment for their children.”
Councillor Johannes Ngozo said the local authority was reacting swiftly and had since carried out tests on the safety of water pumped into homes by council.
“We are glad our water is safe and has sufficient levels of chlorine so it cannot be the cause of this outbreak.
“Council, through the health department, is doing everything possible to arrest the worrying increase of reported cases,” Ngozo said.
“We don’t want more deaths since they are avoidable,” he said.
“People should have the culture of visiting the clinic or hospital before it is too late. We have lots of medicines.”
Two weeks ago, Bulawayo City Council recorded 10 deaths following the outbreak which has also hit parts of Gweru.