Zimbabwe health officials issued health alerts for two serious bacterial pathogens Friday in light of serious water shortages, according to a state media report.
Officials say the erratic water supply poses serious problems with water borne disease outbreaks. “The impact may not be serious now, but when it rains and there are flash floods, all this dirt will be washed away into shallow and unprotected water sources. This is when you see an increase in water-borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhea,” Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa said.
The capital city of Harare has already reported 60 cases of typhoid.
The water problem has forced some to dig shallow wells and the use of “bush toilets”.
Typhoid fever, caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is a life-threatening bacterial infection. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21 million people annually.
Salmonella typhi lives only in humans. Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in their bloodstream and intestinal tract. In addition, a small number of persons, called carriers, recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed S.typhi in their feces.
You can get typhoid fever if you eat foodor drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding S. typhi or if sewage contaminated with S. typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food. Therefore, typhoid fever is more common in areas of the world where handwashing is less frequent and water is likely to be contaminated with sewage.
Typhoid fever can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics, and persons given antibiotics usually begin to feel better within 2 to 3 days.
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