Cholera cases continue to climb in Free State Province

Local News/24 May 2023,11:34am/ Staff Writer

A cholera outbreak in Free State has sparked concerns about the safety of tap water in the province:Image: 123RF/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer

Bloemfontein: Water quality in the Free State is under scrutiny after at least six cholera cases were confirmed in the province, with around 70 other people having diarrhoeal infections.

The cases have centred around Vredefort, Parys, and surrounding areas of the Fezile Dabi District Municipality.

The patients have been treated at Parys and Boitumelo Hospitals in Kroonstad, said Free State Health MEC Mathabo Leeto.

“Following the identification of the first laboratory-confirmed case in the Free State on Wednesday, 17 May, the province, district, and local area Outbreak Response Teams were activated and included the Local and District municipality and supported by World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Institute on Communicable Diseases (NICD),” said Leeto.

“These teams were already in the district since the 8 May 2023 after the Communicable Disease District coordinator from Fezile Dabi District was notified of the rapid, sudden increase of diarrhoea cases in Ngwathe Local Municipality area.”

Teams are monitoring the quality of all water sources in the affected areas, said Leeto.

On Sunday, the cumulative number of positive cholera cases in the country had increased to 37, following the detection of cases in Gauteng and the Free State.

No deaths had so far been reported in Free State.

Leeto said: 

The Free State is in the most vulnerable position as it is in the centre of the country surrounded by six provinces (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, North West and the Kingdom of Lesotho.

“We have five national key roads (N1, N3, N5, N6 and N8) that are connecting the country and the Kingdom of Lesotho, so we have to be on the alert as we get affected by whatever is happening around us.”

In Gauteng, 12 people died from a diarrhoeal disease outbreak in Hammanskraal north of Pretoria.

Almost 100 others have presented to hospital with gastrointestinal symptoms.

By Saturday, 50 people had gone to the hospital, complaining of gastrointestinal symptoms.

The number of those who had visited the hospital had risen to 95 on Sunday. 

Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, visited the Jubilee District Hospital in Hammanskraal on Sunday to assess the situation.

The department added that stool specimens were collected from some of the affected people. 


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