BY BRENNA MATENDERE
TYPHOID outbreak fears have hit the City of Gweru after tens of residents from the densely populated suburb of Senga were hospitalised over the weekend showing symptoms of the waterborne disease.
Vimbai Chingwaramusee, council spokesperson confirmed the incidents, but revealed that medical tests carried out on 69 of the affected residents ruled out typhoid.
“There are no typhoid cases in the city. However, there were cases of diarrhoeal infections which were recorded in Senga. After doing stool sample examinations we realised that many (Midlands State University) students who were affected by diarrhoea were coming from home and adjusting to new diets. 69 cases were recorded and all the cases are just mere diarrhoea as evidenced from the specimen that we took to the lab,” she said.
Typhoid, caused by the bacterium salmonella typhi, is usually spread through contaminated food or water. Gweru is facing chronic water shortages attributed to ageing infrastructure and a tight rationing schedule which is a result of record low levels of the precious liquid at the Gweru main supply dam, Gwenoro. Some residents are relying on water from boreholes, which were previously condemned and were blamed for last year’s typhoid outbreak.
In a snap survey carried out by Southern Eye in Senga yesterday, it was revealed that majority of the residents were living in fear of a new typhoid outbreak.
Chingwaramusee, however, allayed the fears and said council was doing its best to ensure there is no repeat of the 2018 disaster that resulted in deaths of 11 people due to typhoid.
“To our residents we encourage them to ensure that they always practise good hygiene by mainly eating well-cooked food, storing water in properly-cleaned containers and always ensuring that they wash their hands after visiting the rest rooms,” she said.
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“As Gweru City Council our health department has so far trained about 100 health and hygiene promoters who will go back to the communities and advocate for good hygiene, proper waste management, proper hand washing and safe water storage methods. The health and hygiene promoters were trained on September 17, 2019 at Gweru Theatre,” added the council spokesperson.
In January, there were similar fears of typhoid fever outbreak after 19 mourners at a funeral were hospitalised in Mkoba. Medical tests, however, later ruled out typhoid.