Zimbabwe declares cholera outbreak in capital city state of emergency

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He said the outbreak occurred as a result of burst sewer pipes that contaminated borehole water and open wells that are used by residents.

Moyo said on the 11th of September (Tuesday) in a statement, "We are declaring an emergency for Harare".

The outbreak that started in Harare two weeks ago has now spread to four other provinces. In collaboration with health authorities and partners, WHO experts are helping to track down cases, providing technical support to laboratories and improving diagnostics and strengthening infection and prevention control in communities and health facilities.

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Chamisa visited some victims of the cholera outbreak on Wednesday. In addition to such measures and efforts to improve water and sanitation, the government is assessing the benefits of conducting an oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign and World Health Organization is deploying an expert in OCV campaigns to Harare.

"Cholera is a severe watery diarrhoeal disease with or without vomiting caused by vibrio cholera". The disease is typically characterized by acute diarrheal illness which may lead to severe dehydration and may even be fatal.

The outbreak in the city's high density suburbs of Glen View and Budiriro which began last week has so far killed 20 people and infected more than 2,000 people. The disease is more common in developing nations and those that are densely populated and economically backward.

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The 2008 crisis claimed more than 4,300 lives and was blamed on the lack of a safe drinking water supply as well as broken-down sanitation systems that left many people surrounded by flowing raw sewage near their homes.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa called cholera a disease of "inequity". "We have the knowhow and today countries have shown that they have the will to do whatever it takes to end cholera outbreaks by 2030".

The Government of Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency and is working with worldwide partners to rapidly expand recommended cholera response actions, including increasing access to clean and safe water in the most affected communities and decommissioning contaminated water supplies. I urge all residents of affected areas to exercise extra care with their hygiene & follow the instructions of the authorities as we seek to contain & overcome this outbreak.

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