Cholera outbreak claims 15 lives in South Africa, govt blamed

Cholera outbreak claims 15 lives in South Africa, govt blamed

As the number of cholera deaths this week soared to 15, many residents in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populated province, are blaming the government for a lack of clean water for drinking and other domestic uses.

On Sunday, the province of Gauteng’s health authority announced a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, a location roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Pretoria, its administrative center.

The municipal government issued a warning to inhabitants of Hammanskraal and the neighboring districts not to drink tap water on Monday. It noted that nearly 100 people had been seen at hospitals and 37 have been admitted to wards.

A representative for the health department reported that 41 cases have now been confirmed across the country. They include 34 in the province of Gauteng, one in Limpopo province, and six in Free State.

In Hammanskraal, resident Kagiso Sadiki said he could not remember a time when Hammanskraal’s tap water was fit for consumption. His 53-year-old cousin Michael Sadiki died within a week of falling ill.

Read Also: WHO announces Cholera outbreaks in 23 countries

The tap water is brown and dirty, the 37-year-old further told reporters.

The municipality said in statements that the water supplied by the city in Hammanskraal is not potable; but that the city provides clean drinking water through tankers to informal settlements several times a week.

Cholera can cause acute diarrhoea, vomiting and weakness and also, it is mainly spread by contaminated food or water. It can kill within hours if untreated.

South Africa recorded its first two cholera cases in February on the back of outbreaks in nearby Mozambique and Malawi; the two most severely affected countries in 2023, according to the United Nations.

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