Cases of typhoid that had begun to erupt in Harare’s Glen View suburb in recent weeks, have died down with authorities still vigilant for any new cases that may arise.
Since the beginning of the week, no new suspected cases of typhoid have been reported.
About 13 cases of suspected typhoid were reported at Glen View Polyclinic in recent weeks, raising fears of a potential outbreak considering the onset of the rainy season, which normally triggers diarrhoea.
Worse still, the water and sanitation situation in the area has not improved vastly with residents still relying on unsafe sources of water for consumption. Sewage bursts are still taking time to be attended to resulting in contamination of drinking water, including underground water.
The general hygiene is also still questionable particularly at shopping areas with vendors selling fresh meat, sadza and vegetables under unhygienic environments.
Harare City health director Dr Prosper Chonzi told The Herald yesterday that authorities will only be sure that there are no more new cases by the second week of January.
“Although no new cases have been reported the whole week, it is too early for us to declare cases we have been seeing over the last few weeks because typhoid takes 21 days to incubate. Up until the second week of January can we safely say cases have been contained,” said Dr Chonzi.
Asked if any of the suspected cases tested positive, Dr Chonzi said all cases exhibited signs and symptoms of typhoid and hence were treated as such, without any laboratory confirmation.
He said if the cases had been subjected to laboratory confirmations, the cases would still test negative because a majority of them had taken antibiotics before presenting to a health facility.
Antibiotics may lead to a false negative test.
Typhoid is a water borne disease that passes from one individual to the other through direct contact with human faeces. It had almost become endemic in Harare’s Glen View and Budiriro suburbs forcing Government to introduce an anti-typhoid vaccine.