Harare Boreholes Infected with Sewage Bacteria
28 February 2024
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In a concerning revelation, the Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Council (UMSCC) has reported that many boreholes in Harare are contaminated with Escherichia coli (E.coli), a bacteria commonly found in sewage. This contamination spans across 13 residential areas, including Mt Pleasant, Avondale, Glen View, and others, raising fears of potential cholera outbreaks.

The presence of E.coli signals possible sewage contamination in the water supply, posing significant health risks, including the potential spread of cholera. UMSCC urgently advises residents in affected areas against using untreated borehole water for drinking, cooking, or washing, emphasizing the need for water treatment and precautionary measures.

Residents are urged to treat borehole water with aqua tabs, boil it for at least one minute before consumption, and have it tested by accredited laboratories to ensure safety. While UMSCC addresses the situation, immediate action is crucial for individual residents to safeguard against waterborne diseases.

The government has also stepped in, implementing measures to strengthen water, hygiene, and sanitation infrastructure as part of its efforts to combat the current cholera outbreak. Since its onset in Chegutu town in Mashonaland West Province in February 2023, the outbreak has spread rapidly, with suspected and confirmed cases reported across 61 districts in all 10 provinces.

As of Monday, the cumulative toll stands at 26,189 suspected cholera cases, with 71 laboratory-confirmed deaths and 485 suspected cholera deaths. The outbreak has extended beyond the traditional cholera hotspots, affecting additional districts, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive public health interventions to contain the spread.