The National Department of Health on Thursday revealed that the cholera death toll now stands at 31, following the outbreak in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
Information provided by the department indicates that Gauteng accounts for 29 deaths, while Free State and Mpumalanga account for one fatality each. The data shows that the country has recorded a total cumulative number of 166 laboratory-confirmed cases and 202 suspected infections of cholera in five provinces between 1 February and 6 June 2023.
A majority of cases were recorded in Gauteng, which accounts for at least 92% or 152 cases, while Free State accounts for 5%, translating to nine infections.
Meanwhile, the waterborne disease has spread to other provinces, with the Northwest reporting three infections and one each in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. So far, more than 600 people with suspected cholera symptoms have been seen in Gauteng and Free State hospitals, according to the department.
Meanwhile, the National, Provincial and District Outbreak Response Teams have been activated and reached over 300 contacts as part of case-finding and contact-tracing activities.
These programs, the department said, include health promotion and continuous distribution of 3 000 hygiene packs donated by the United Nations Children’s Fund and Doctors Without Borders to households and local schools in the affected communities.
Citizens are urged to remain vigilant and avoid known or suspected contaminated food, water and surfaces, and to wash hands thoroughly with soap before handling and preparing food or after using the bathroom to prevent possible infection.