Over 350 patients treated in Vryheid diarrhoea outbreak

Dirty water
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More than 350 patients have been treated for diarrhoea in Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal within a week.

Acting Head of the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department Doctor Musa Gumede says 35 of the patients have been admitted to hospital.

Patients who have experienced symptoms of diarrhoea have been flocking to the Mason and Bekhuzulu clinics as well as the Vryheid hospital.

Gumede says since last week, health facilities have admitted around seven new patients per day.

He says there are no signs of cholera thus far.

“We have treated them in line with the protocol of any diarrhoea which is likely to be caused by cholera or any other form of diarrhoeal disease. We’ve also taken stool and water samples to check if there is any bacteria that can be identified. The first batch of tests have come back, they have not indicated any cholera. We are waiting the water samples to confirm whether it has found any bacteria as a cause of the diarrhoea,” says Gumede.

Gumede has urged residents to continue to boil water before consuming it.

“The majority of patients we are seeing are coming to a clinic called Beguzulu clinic so we are targeting that area to make sure that they get safe, clean water because it seems to be the epicentre. We hope that the communities around are boiling the water or buying bottle water. It is still a waterborne disease.”