The Harare City Health Department has activated emergency Cholera response systems after three confirmed, and 11 suspected cholera cases were recorded in Budiriro 1 over the past five days.
According to Health Times, the 11 suspected cases and the confirmed three, all emanate from one area in Budiriro 1 where residents get water from an unprotected water source.
Speaking during a recent Media Science Café organized by the Health Communicators Forum in Zimbabwe (HCF), City of Harare Epidemiologist, Dr Michael Vere said they have identified and closed the well which is the source of the infections. He said:
We have got 11 suspected Cholera cases but amongst these cases, three have been confirmed already.
The first case was recorded on the 22nd of April and this was a 15-year-old Child who stays in Budiriro 1 and has got no history of travel to any of the areas affected so far by Cholera in Zimbabwe or in the region.
We are investigating local sources of this infection and so far, what has been done is that we have taken water samples from the water sources of these 11 cases and there is a common source which is a well at one of the households of these cases.
This is a well that we are suspecting and we have also closed the well and we have also collected samples from surrounding boreholes and some well close to that area and we are awaiting results.
Speaking at the same event, however, Harare Residents Trust (HRT) Director, Precious Shumba criticised Harare City Council for failing to provide adequate water supply for residents. He said:
Cholera occurs sporadically when water supply, sanitation, food safety, and hygiene are inadequate (City of Harare, 2009). Vending sites have no water and sanitation facilities. There are no toilets or sources of water to service the majority of vendors in the communities.
Water is in short supply across the suburbs with residents largely dependent on community boreholes and shallow wells, especially in Mabvuku, Tafara, Glen Norah, Chitungwiza, Epworth, Budiriro, and Glen View.
Reports of sewerage bursts are not being urgently attended to when they are made to council offices dotted across the suburbs. There is very poor responsiveness of the council in tackling this health challenge.
The symptoms of cholera can range from mild to severe and can include diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle cramps. In severe cases, rapid loss of body fluids can lead to dehydration and shock.
Cholera can be prevented by ensuring access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. Other preventive measures include washing hands frequently with soap and water, cooking food thoroughly, and avoiding raw or undercooked seafood.
The disease can be treated with oral rehydration therapy (ORT), which involves drinking a solution of salt, sugar, and water to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.