Mtsweni calls for calm during diarrhoea outbreak

She says the government is working “tirelessly to deal with the infection.


Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni has called for calm in eHlanzeni as diarrhoea cases are alarmingly on the rise.

1 300 cases have been reported by the health department since last month began.

SEE ALSO: Unknown illness kills two in Tekwane South, KaNyamazane

“The provincial government has expressed a serious concern as the transmission of this infection seems to be moving from one area to another,” Mtsweni’s spokesman Zibonele Mncwango said.

“To date, over 1 300 cases of diarrhoea have been reported in health facilities especially within Mbombela municipality,” Mncwango said.

Water tests are currently being conducted by authorities from the eHlanzeni district municipality and City of Mbombela to determine the source of the outbreak, Mncwango said.

“Although the provincial government is not too sure where the germ seems to be coming from, citizens are meanwhile being encouraged to exercise caution by continuously wash[ing] hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet, wash hands as well as after changing baby nappies and after throwing away rubbish. They are encouraged to prepare safe food by constantly washing or peeling fruit and vegetables, cook food thoroughly especially meat and should store food in a clean and cool place,” he said.

Residents are also encouraged to pour a teaspoon of bleach into 25-litres water, mix well and wait for at least 30 minutes or to boil the water for at least three minutes before consuming.

Health officials were on the field encouraging people to look for symptoms and go to their nearest clinic.

Since the outbreak nobody has died except two people, one in Tekwane South and another in KaNyamazane who authorities suspect were killed by drinking dirty water. A bacteria called Shigella was found in their bodies by the Institute of Communicable Diseases – suggesting they were killed by contaminated water.

Feeling nausea, vomiting as well as feeling stomach cramps are just some of the signs of diarrhoea.

“The provincial government is conversely satisfied that there are no deaths related to the current diarrhoea outbreak,” Mncwango said.

“It therefore wishes to call for calm and encourages citizens to adhere to prevention while we are speedily dealing with the outbreak. We also have noted the opportunistic ill-informed rumourmongers who are intending to cause excessive public panic,” he said.

(edited by MLM)

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