First cholera-death reported in South Africa, 3 weeks after first infection case

SOUTH AFRICA – The Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla has announced the first death linked to the recent cases of cholera detected in South Africa, as the number of laboratory confirmed-cases rises to five.

This follows an announcement of three cases a few weeks ago. The 4th case is a 28-year-old male residing in Alexandra Township with no local or international travel history.

The patient presented himself at the Edenvale Hospital Emergency Centre with a four-day history of diarrhoea, vomiting and body weakness.

A specimen was collected for testing and the patient was not admitted at the hospital but managed as an outpatient and given treatment to take home, and requested to return for his results which came back positive.

The outbreak response team conducted a case investigation visited the patient’s residence and workplace the following day.

The 5th case is a 24-year-old male residing in Emandleni Wattville, Benoni in Ekurhuleni with no travel history.

The patient presented with profuse watery diarrhea and was admitted at Tambo Memorial Hospital. His results confirmed positive status and sadly he passed away few days later.

One of his contacts is still in hospital and further investigation is being conducted.

37 people die in Mozambique

37 people have died of cholera in Mozambique since the start of the current outbreak last December, the Health Minister Armindo Tiago has reported.

To date, the number of cases diagnosed is 5,260, mostly in the northern province of Niassa. But cases have also been detected in the central provinces of Tete, Zambezia and Sofala and the southern province of Gaza.

“Surveillance is under way in all districts of the country to ensure early detection of cholera, and implementation of control measures,” the minister said at a meeting in Maputo to assess the cholera and polio situation in the country, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Vaccination campaign against cholera

To break the chain of contamination, the Minister added, a vaccination campaign against cholera will be held, in the four provinces where the situation is regarded as of most concern.

The campaign will be run in eight districts – Sanga, Lago, Lichinga, Mecanhelas and Mandimba in Niassa; Milange in Zambezia; Caia in Sofala and Xai-Xai in Gaza.

The campaign will last for five days and will cover the entire population aged one year and above. The Health Ministry calculates that this will be a total of 719,240 individuals.

As for polio, Tiago said that in 2022 the country had notified 932 cases, compared with 473 in 2021. “Of the 932 cases notified, 33 were positive for polio, and eight were of the wild polio type (PSV1), identified in Tete“.

Last year, six rounds of vaccination against polio were carried out, and three more rounds are planned for this year, throughout the country.

Regional WHO Director Matshidiso Moeti told the meeting “the good news is that no case of polio has been notified in the last 150 days.”

Cholera mainly spreads through contaminated/polluted water.

People can become infected directly through drinking contaminated water, or indirectly through eating contaminated food.

 Symptoms include diarrhoea dehydration, vomiting and body weakness.

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