HomeLocal NewsGovt rules out influenza outbreak

Govt rules out influenza outbreak

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Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera yesterday ruled out an influenza outbreak in the country, saying government had not received any reports to suggest a crisis.

There are reports that some people had died especially in Bulawayo after contracting the viral disease. State media even claimed that government officials had confirmed that an H3N2 influenza strain was responsible for the death of one person and the illness of 140 000 others.

But Madzorera said he had not been briefed of such an outbreak by his officials whom he last met on Tuesday.

“I don’t have any report yet on flu and I don’t believe there is an outbreak,” he said.

“Right now, I have not been informed of an outbreak of flu.

“There is no indication of an outbreak and will wait until I am informed. I met the responsible department on Tuesday and they did not mention the outbreak.”

Influenza cases are common in winter. The H3N2 strain causes fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache and coughing. Meanwhile, Madzorera warned that the typhoid outbreak in Harare and Chitungwiza was bound to worsen because of poor sanitation in the two cities. Hundreds of people have been hospitalised in Chitungwiza and Harare suffering from the water-borne disease, raising fears of another cholera outbreak.

“Typhoid has been around since last year,” Madzorera said.

“We have over 4 600 cases recorded throughout the country, but it was nearly over now until the Chitungwiza outbreak.”

The minister said awareness campaigns on hygiene were not bearing fruit because most parts of the country were battling water shortages.

In a statement yesterday, the Harare Residents’ Trust accused local authorities of failing to take the water crisis seriously.

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