South Africa on high alert after two 'imported' cholera cases from Zimbabwe detected in Limpopo


South Africa's Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo, confirmed on Monday, 15 January, that two cases of cholera detected in Limpopo were “imported” from Zimbabwe. The announcement was made in a statement published on the South African Government website.

cholera cases in Limpopo from 2 Zimbabweans

The first patient, a 43-year-old man from Zimbabwe, tested positive for cholera and has since been discharged from Musina Hospital. 

The second patient, a 27-year-old man also from Zimbabwe, is currently in isolation at Hellen Franz Hospital. 

He presented with symptoms of abdominal cramps, watery diarrhoea, and vomiting that started on 11 January 2024.

The statement detailed the travel history of the second patient, stating, "The patient travelled to Zimbabwe on 9 December 2023 and returned to South Africa on 10 January 2024. His health condition is stable and still in isolation at the hospital."

In response to these cases, local outbreak response teams have been activated to conduct further investigations and provide health education to identified contacts.

The statement urged the public to maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease. 

"The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo urges members of the public to be vigilant and maintain personal hygiene as the country records two laboratory-confirmed cases of cholera in Limpopo. Both cases are imported from Zimbabwe."

South Africa said it remains on high alert for possible "imported" cases from Zimbabwe, which is currently battling a cholera outbreak that has claimed over 200 lives. 

As a precautionary measure, health screening has been intensified at the Beitbridge border post in collaboration with the Border Management Authority.

Dr. Dhlomo thanked the patients for their honesty about their travel history and cooperation with health officials. 

He appealed to all those with a travel history to cholera outbreak areas to do the same to save lives and prevent further transmission to other people.

The Deputy Minister also advised travellers along N1 from Musina and other parts of the country to avoid using known or suspected contaminated surfaces, especially in public places. 

He urged the public to wash hands thoroughly with soap before handling food or after using the bathroom.

The statement concluded with a warning: "All people who experience cholera-like symptoms (stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and dehydration and vomiting), with or without a travel history to cholera endemic countries and areas, are also urged to present themselves to the nearest health facilities without delays. 

"Never drink water from unsafe sources such as rivers, dams, or streams, unless boiled or disinfected first."

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