Cholera death toll has risen to 17

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The death toll from cholera has risen to 17 in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria. The Gauteng Health Department has confirmed a statement on Wednesday.

The Gauteng health department says the number of Cholera confirmed laboratory cases stands at 29. A total of 165 patients have since been seen at Hammanskraal’s Jubilee District hospital including 18 patients who have been transferred to nearby facilities.

Gauteng health spokesperson, Motalatale Modiba has urged the public presenting Cholea symptoms to report to their nearest health facilities.

“We advise the public to report to their nearest health facilities when they present with diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration symptoms, so they can receive medical treatment. We further reiterate the call for the public to avoid consuming known or suspected contaminated food and water.”

The Department also reminds the residents to practice proper hand hygiene, before handling food and after using the restroom.

Source of cholera?

The Tshwane Executive Mayor, Cilliers Brink, says further tests are expected to be conducted on Wednesday to help determine the source of cholera.

Brink says recent tests on water supply from the taps show no cholera contamination.

“Immediately when the outbreak became clear and when it was declared as cholera, we pulled the records and demanded that the officials account. None of the routine samples that were done indicated that there was cholera in the water supply. That is not to say that there isn’t cholera, there is clearly cholera, but our initial indication is that the water from the taps is not contaminated by cholera. In these circumstances, you do as much sampling as possible. So, later today we should have more tests and confirmation as to what is the source of cholera.”

‘Act with urgency’

Meanwhile, Amnesty International South Africa is appealing to the government to act with urgency to prevent further cholera deaths.

Amnesty International SA spokesperson Mienke Steytler says the basic right to clean and safe water, which is enshrined in the Constitution, will continue to be threatened unless government ensures the critical resource is protected.

“People are dying of a preventable and easily treatable disease. This is deeply troubling and unacceptable. Cholera is caused by the intake of contaminated food or water. Food and water should be safe to eat and drink, not contaminated with potentially deadly bacteria. The provision of safe water and sanitation is critical in preventing and controlling the transmission of cholera.”