Alvine Kapitako Windhoek-The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) yesterday confirmed a cholera outbreak as a 10-year-old boy from Katutura tested positive for the disease this week. “As one confirmed cholera case constitutes an outbreak, [there is] need to put response measures in place,” the health ministry said. The outbreak is hot on the heels of the hepatitis E outbreak that has thus led to the deaths of three women, with the third woman dying last week Thursday. To date MoHSS has confirmed that 553 cases with clinical signs of hepatitis E have been seen at various health facilities. This is 63 more from the 490 cases that were recorded last week. The World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Dr. Charles Sagoe-Moses told New Era that the conditions for transmission of cholera and hepatitis E are the same. “It is important to intensify the ongoing control measures such as personal and environmental hygiene, provision of safe water and safe disposal of waste (stool) to address risk factors,” added Sagoe-Moses. He stressed that creating awareness, social mobilisation and behaviour change communication should be intensified in schools and communities. The 10-year-old boy who is a learner at People’s Primary School in Katutura was suspected of contracting cholera when he suddenly started passing ricey watery stool. The patient told doctors that three other boys in his class were also vomiting and had diarrhea. On January 25, the District Disease Surveillance officer, a certain LN Amakali, received a phone call from a doctor at a private consulting room informing her that he saw a patient with diarrhea, who was vomiting and was also dehydrated. This was according to a statement issued by the health ministry on behalf of Permanent Secretary, Petronella Masabane. “The three boys including the patient in Windhoek Central hospital shared a sausage from home... and immediately started vomiting and having diarrhea. All were taken to hospital by their parents and the team suspected food poisoning,” said Masabane. On Monday, the results of the boy came back positive with vibrio cholera. “No one else presented the same symptoms in the house,” according to the report. The family of eight (four children and four adults), stays in a location where there are shacks and brick houses and although the report does not mention the location, it indicates that “theirs is a brick house cordoned off by a wire fence”. Sagoe-Moses said further investigation is needed to determine the source of the bacteria and other people who could potentially be infected. The majority of cases of hepatitis E have been reported from the informal settlement of Havana which is most affected, accounting for about 284 of the total cases. This is followed by Goreangab informal settlement with 144 cases and Hakahana with 21 cases. Surrounding settlements reported few sporadic cases. The most affected age group is between 20 and 39 years, representing 76 percent (421 of the total 553 cases). More males at 314 (57 percent) are affected compared to 239 females (43 percent).
2018-02-01 08:55:54 7 months ago