KZN residents urged to ensure water sources are safe

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Public health specialists in KwaZulu-Natal are urging people who display any cholera symptoms to seek medical help immediately.

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Health Department urged doctors nationwide to begin cholera treatment immediately, if it is suspected that a patient maybe infected and not to wait for test results. So far, KwaZulu-Natal has not reported any cholera cases.

Head of Public Health Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Saloshni Naidoo has cautioned residents to ensure that their water source is safe.

“Very important it is surveillance and in South Africa Cholera is a notifiable condition. So, when the diagnosis is made, they need to be reported to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and then the local authorities and local health departments must be informed that they need to go and investigate and survey the community to make sure that there are no other cases of cholera in the community. They also have to raise awareness among the communities about using safe water sources, and about food preparation. There’s also ensuring that there’s good hand hygiene.”

Prof Naidoo has expressed concern that carriers with mild symptoms could further spread the virus.

“You have types that can be highly virulent some are less virulent, but it’s largely spread through contaminated water contaminated food. People who eat contaminated food or drink water that is contaminated with cholera are at risk of developing the disease. We refer to it as oral fecal route of spread, it’s through ingestion that people can get the disease.”

This comes after the recent cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, Gauteng, where 15 people have died from the diarrheal disease.

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