In a follow-up on the typhoid outbreak in Gweru City, Midlands Province in central Zimbabwe,  the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care reports a total of 1,460 suspected cases, including eight deaths (case fatality ratio 0.6%).

Salmonella serotype Typhi
Typhoid image/CDC

The neighborhood of Mkoba has been the most affected, especially Mkoba 15, 18 and 20. Other affected neighborhoods in Gweru are Ascot, Woodlands and Windsor PK.

Retrospective investigations showed that the first case-patient presented to the hospital on 5 July 2018 and health officials notified the WHO of the outbreak one month ago.

The antibiotic sensitivity testing by the National Reference laboratory showed that the bacterium was only sensitive to ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin and gentamicin.

This outbreak is being attributed to burst sewer pipes, which are believed to have contaminated boreholes, the main source of potable water for the community in the city. Large numbers of people have been affected within a short period and the extent of this outbreak could be much bigger than what is seen. The outbreak has occurred in a city that is the gateway between Harare (the capital city) and Bulawayo (the second largest city) resulting in increased risk of importing the disease to these cities.