Health officials in South Africa have issued a warning about an outbreak of diarrhoeal disease and an increase in laboratory-confirmed cholera cases. The Department of Health has urged the public to exercise extra precautionary measures to prevent the spread of these diseases.
Precautionary Measures to Take
The Department of Health has recommended that individuals take the following steps to prevent the spread of diarrhoeal disease and cholera:
- Maintain proper hand hygiene.
- Avoid known or suspected contaminated food, water, and surfaces.
- Avoid water from sources such as rivers, dams, and streams unless it has been boiled or disinfected first.
Symptoms of Diarrhoeal Disease
Diarrhoeal disease is a highly contagious condition that affects the stomach and intestines and can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever. The disease is a leading cause of child mortality and morbidity globally and can spread through contact with an infected person or via contaminated food and water sources.
Increase in Cholera Cases
An increase in the cumulative number of positive cholera cases has also been reported. Twenty-two cases have been detected, including four in Gauteng and seven in Vredefort and Parys areas within the Free State Province. Safe drinking practices should be observed by avoiding water from sources such as rivers, dams, and streams unless it has been boiled or disinfected first.
Response to the Outbreaks
Provincial and district outbreak response teams have been dispatched to affected communities to investigate the source and intensify health education and promotion efforts. The Department of Health will continue to keep the public informed about the ongoing investigations and developments. For further technical inquiries, individuals can contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases or their respective health department spokesperson.
The outbreaks are concerning and should be taken seriously, but it is also important to avoid drawing conclusions or making assumptions based on limited information. It is crucial that individuals follow the advice of health officials and take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their communities.