Harare City Council reports that cases of suspected typhoid have risen to 500 in less than a month.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease, caused by Salmoella typhi.
It is transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the faeces or urine of infected people.
The outbreak in Harare has been confined to the city’s poor townships, especially Dzivarasekwa, where untreated sewage flows unrestricted on the streets.
Council’s failure to provide adequate clean water supplies to households has exacerbated the situation.
Leslie Gwindi, the council spokesperson, told journalists on Wednesday that the local authority was only able to supply 610 megalitres of water against a daily demand of 1 400.
The gap between demand and supply of water in the capital clearly points to a crisis of serious proportions.
But a clear lesson from this outbreak is that our city fathers did not learn from the 2008-9 cholera epidemic that killed 4 000 people countrywide and infected close to 10 000.
Harare was the epicentre of the cholera outbreak and its causes are still to be addressed hence the new cases of typhoid.
Although typhoid is less deadly compared to cholera as reports indicate that no deaths have been recorded so far in Harare, the mere fact that cases are ballooning at this rate must get everyone worried.
Typhoid and cholera transimission is strikingly similar only that the latter has a much shorter incubation period.
The Meteorological Office early this week advised that the country would start receiving heavier rains this week as the wet season finally kicks in and experts fear the worst.
Spiralling typhoid cases might herald the resurgence of a cholera outbreak worse than the 2008-9 catastrophe.
When disaster strikes in the form of a deadly cholera outbreak, our city fathers and the responsible government ministries must be ready to shoulder the blame.
Council must stop moaning about lack of inadequate water sources and be seen doing something to address the crisis at its doorstep.
It’s high time the city found innovative ways of addressing the water problems and the crumbling sewer infrastructure.
Government must also stop paying lip service to the Kunzvi Dam project.
The dam, which is expected to cost $539 million and is regarded as the panacea for Harare’s water problems, has been on the cards for over a decade.
It is prudent that we start working now to prevent another needless loss of lives, especially to preventable diseases like cholera and typhoid.