Department of Health Warns South Africans of Cholera Threat Amid Cross-Border Travel Surge

December 14, 2023
FILE PHOTO Cholera outbreak in Blantyre | Report Focus News
FILE PHOTO Cholera outbreak in Blantyre

As South Africa braces for the festive season and a surge in cross-border travel, the Department of Health is issuing a stern warning to the public, urging vigilance in the wake of a cholera outbreak in neighboring countries, with particular concern over Zimbabwe.

Cholera, a waterborne disease, can spread rapidly, and with heightened travel activity expected during the holiday season, South Africans may face an increased risk of exposure to this potentially deadly disease.

Tshwane Health MMC Rina Marx emphasized the importance of vigilance in preventing a cholera outbreak. She advised, “If you are unsure about the quality of water, boil it before use. Ensure that fruits, vegetables, and meat are washed using water that has been properly boiled. Practicing good hand hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of cholera.”

Marx went on to assure the public that the City of Tshwane Health Department has already implemented measures to ensure a swift response in the event of possible cholera cases.

This warning comes on the heels of a recent incident earlier this month when a 47-year-old patient was admitted to Livingstone Hospital in Gqeberha, presenting symptoms consistent with cholera. The patient was promptly placed in isolation.

Eastern Cape health authorities have been placed on high alert in response to this case. Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo announced their intention to collaborate closely with local municipalities to conduct comprehensive contact tracing, a vital step in containing and preventing the further spread of the disease.

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection that spreads through contaminated water and food. Its symptoms can range from mild diarrhea to severe dehydration, and in extreme cases, it can be fatal if not treated promptly.

As South Africans prepare to celebrate the festive season with family and friends, health officials strongly urge the public to remain cautious, adhere to proper hygiene practices, and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from the threat of cholera. Vigilance and proactive measures are essential in preventing the spread of this potentially deadly disease during this critical time.