Zimbabwe cholera spreads to Botswana, DRC and S. Africa

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Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city, has been placed on high alert following reports that two new cases of cholera were diagnosed at the Nyangabwe Referral Hospital, prompting fears of a possible outbreak in and around the city, the Botswana Guardian reported.

The three cases reported at Nyangabwe Hospital bring to four the total number of cholera cases diagnosed in Botswana in less than a month.

The new cases were confirmed by the Francistown City Council’s Public Health Specialist, Dr Paul Nashar, who urged the public to report suspected symptoms of the contagious disease to the nearest health facility without delay.

Dr. Nashar said the two patients, a man and woman, who were Zimbabweans had been admitted to an isolation ward at Jubilee Clinic in Francistown City.

“The patients were referred to Nyangabwe from different villages in the North East District where they had gone to seek medical attention. They had symptoms of diarrhoea that include vomiting and running stomach. The treatment depends on the condition of the patient, but it can take roughly one to two weeks,” Dr. Nashar said.

On 19 November two people from Zimbabwe reported at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in the Serowe village with acute diarrhoea and were treated as suspected cholera cases.

Both cases in Serowe village and the latest in Francistown City are a spillover from the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe where the disease now accounts for nearly 800 deaths and another 12,000 people on treatment.

The disease has also been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.

Supermarkets in Botswana explained that they have since stopped buying fruits and vegetables from Zimbabwe.

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