About 11 people have died in the Eastern Cape following an outbreak of typhoid in Mount Ayliff and Mqanduli, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.
Health MEC Bevan Goqwana said he had been informed that eight people had died at Mount Ayliff, including a 74-year-old man. In Mancam location in Mqanduli, at least three children had died and 10 others were diagnosed with the illness. He said all those diagnosed with typhoid had been discharged from hospital.
Goqwana said the SA National Defence Force had been alerted although the disease was under control. Eastern Cape health services and the SANDF are also currently on alert following an outbreak of cholera in neighbouring
A primary healthcare nurse at the Mount Ayliff Hospital, Lizo Ngxata, said on Tuesday he knew of six people who had died from typhoid in the town and another 15 diagnosed with the disease.
Ngxata said the disease, which was similar to cholera, was first detected in the area in October. Ngxata said that villages affected by the disease in Mount Ayliff were Siphethu, Manzana, Skhemana and Mqwane with five deaths reported in Manzana alone.
The disease's symptoms are fever, headache and painless diarrhoea, which sometimes leads to death within two weeks if untreated.
The disease is caused by dirt and contamination of drinking water with faeces especially during rainy seasons, but was not as serious as cholera, said
In Mount Ayliff the affected villages have no taps and the communities used water from springs, he said. Ngxata said the spring water was contaminated with disease and was not fit for human consumption.
He said the hospital's primary healthcare workers were visiting villages in the area to educate communities about the disease and health education. He urged communities, especially those in rural areas where there were no taps or clean water, to boil water before use to avoid infection.
Source: SAPA, 14 November 2000