Health minister David Parirenyatwa has expressed concern over a possible cholera and typhoid outbreak, if urban residents are not cautious of their water sources during the rainy season.
The highly-communicable diseases — closely linked to poor hygiene and environmental management — are mainly transmitted through contaminated water and food.
Apart from the rains fuelling spread of the diseases, interruptions to potable water supplies, overcrowding and burst sewage pipes as well as uncollected garbage aggravate factors of an outbreak.
Zimbabwe is haunted by memories of an unprecedented cholera outbreak that killed about 5 000 people between 2008 and 2009.
“It is important to mention that now we are going into the rainy season, that’s when we have the outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea because water is going to flow and scoop all the dirt which, some of it, goes into the shallow wells in the cities,” Parirenyatwa said on Wednesday.
And some people fetch water from these shallow wells which they use but it may be contaminated with cholera. That’s how cholera spreads. So let’s be careful as we go into the rainy season,” he warned.
Out of the total number of cholera cases, 50 percent were reported in high density suburbs, particularly Budiriro in Harare.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by an infection in the intestines.
It can kill an adult in a matter of hours, according to health experts.
“Symptoms, including severe watery diarrhoea, can surface in as little as two hours or up to five days after infection, and can then trigger extreme dehydration and kidney failure. With such a short incubation period, cholera can easily explode into an outbreak,” the International Medical Corps has said