Gweru typhoid death toll rises to 7

By Munyaradzi Musiiwa

The death toll due to the typhoid outbreak in Gweru has risen to seven, with fresh cases being suspected in Ascot and Mtapa high-density suburbs.

Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa (centre) with health officials talks to one of the typhoid patients at Gweru Provincial Hospital

It is suspected that the number of people who succumbed to the disease could be higher as some cases were not reported after Gweru City Council allegedly concealed the disease for close to a month before it was discovered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Midlands provincial medical director Dr Simon Nyadundu said close to 130 people were treated for suspected typhoid on Heroes’ Day alone, while two others died.

Dr Nyadundu said the Ministry of Health and Child Care, together with the task force set up to fight the disease, was investigating new cases reported in Ascot high-density suburb.

“Yesterday (Monday) alone, we treated 129 people,” he said. “The number of people who have died so far is now seven. Two people died yesterday (Monday).

“We also have reports of diarrhoea cases in Ascot high-density suburb and we are just treating them as such (typhoid). We are still carrying out investigations to establish the source of the disease.”

Dr Nyadundu said the Ministry of Health and Child Care was making frantic efforts to contain the disease in Gweru.

He said residents in Mkoba 15, 18 and 20, which were the worst affected, had since started receiving water treatment tablets, as well as water containers in an endeavour to stop the spread of the disease.

“We are distributing water treatment tablets in areas where there have been cases of suspected typhoid,” said Dr Nyadundu. “We have set up a task force which is meeting every day.

“Our teams are investigating all cases of diarrhoea in all suburbs so that it does not spread to other areas.”

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has since condemned Gweru City Council water as unsafe for human consumption. It is suspected that the water was contaminated by sewage, which found its way into water pipes.The Herald