Two Killed In Gweru Diarrhoea Outbreak, Council Insists Its Water Is Safe
1 March 2020
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City Of Gweru council offices

THE Gweru City Council has declared its water is safe for drinking after laboratory tests showed it was not contaminated after two teenage boys died of diarrhoea last week.

There was a diarrhoea outbreak in Mkoba 12 that affected an undisclosed number of people and killed two 17-year-old boys.

Residents were living in fear of a possible repetition of 2018 where Mkoba 15, 18 and 20 high density suburbs were hit by a diarrhoea and typhoid outbreak, which killed 11 people and left more than 2 000 requiring medical attention.

Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said although the water tests have come out clean, laboratory test results from stool samples taken from some of the affected people in the area were still to come out.

“After we got the report that there was a diarrhoea outbreak and two people had died, we sent the stool samples and water samples to Government laboratories through the office of the provincial medical director (Dr Simon Nyadundu). Ideally, we do not do it on our own for authenticity and transparency. However, since its rainy season we cannot dismiss a possible cross contamination in the area. What happened is that the affected people are from the same suburb and we suspect that because of the incessant rains that we received recently, the water might have been contaminated probably at household level. We are not completely ruling out a possibility of typhoid because we are still waiting for the results from stool samples,” he said.

Gweru City Council public relations and communications officer Ms Vimbai Chingwaramuse, said the two teenage boys were from Mkoba 12 Infill and died in the past 10 days.

“I can confirm that we noticed that two boys aged 17 succumbed to what looks like a bout of diarrhoea and are both from Mkoba 12 Infill suburb. The deaths were recorded around 17 February. We received information through our weekly disease surveillance report from our clinics that there were two deaths which occurred and it is suspected that the deaths could be linked to diarrhoea,” said Ms Chingwaramuse.

She said the city health rapid response teams have been deployed to Mkoba suburbs to take samples for laboratory testing.

“The city health response team is on the ground collecting stool samples and water samples in Mkoba suburbs and especially in Mkoba 12 Infill suburb where these two cases were recorded. We are still waiting to get results which will guide us to know the problem. We also need to find out how the two boys could be linked. Meanwhile, we urge all residents with diarrhoea symptoms to immediately visit their nearest health institutions for medical attention. At the same time we urge residents to ensure that they drink clean water from clean sources and to consume well cooked food after washing their hands before eating and after visiting the toilet,” said Ms Chingwaramuse.