Rand Water, NICD, City Of Tshwane, Move To Allay Typhoid Outbreak Fears

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Rand Water has dismissed as false suggestions that a typhoid outbreak was spreading through the water its supplies and the City of Tshwane has revealed that only seven cases have been confirmed.

Reports of a typhoid outbreak have been doing the rounds on social media with suggestions the disease could be spreading through tap water.

Rand Water said Monday, “the recent typhoid cases, reported in the news have not been linked to tap water”.

Rand Water added that its “drinking water treatment processes are effective in inactivating harmful bacteria”.

The City of Tshwane said so far sporadic cases in the city “do not meet” the WHO definition to be classified as an outbreak.

“In the last three months, starting from December 2021 to February 2022, only seven sporadic laboratory-confirmed cases were reported through the National Medical Notification System,” said the City of Tshwane.

“Two of these cases were reported in December 2021, four in January 2022, and one case in February 2022.”

The City of Tshwane said residents who suspect their water is contaminated are advised to boil it before consumption.

“Additionally, we urge residents to practise comprehensive hand hygiene,” said the City of Tshwane.

“Those with symptoms are advised to present to their nearest health facility for investigation, diagnosis, and treatment.”

Enteric fever, more commonly known as typhoid fever, is a systemic illness caused by bacterial infection with salmonella Typhi.

It spreads by ingesting contaminated food or water and direct contact from person to person.

The City of Tshwane said it was monitoring the situation following the confirmation of the Typhoid fever outbreak in some parts of the country by

However, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said: “There is no evidence that recent cases of typhoid fever are linked to contaminated municipal water in any parts of the country, and there is no evidence that the bacteria causing typhoid fever have recently been identified in municipal water sources anywhere in the country.”

The NICD added: there are numerous social media posts with false information about enteric fever in South Africa that are attracting widespread attention and causing needless concern and panic at the moment.

“These statements are factually incorrect. There is no evidence that recent cases of enteric fever are linked to contaminated municipal water in any part of the country.”

Rand Water said it maintains intensive water quality monitoring programmes.

“Escherichia coli, a bacteria that is used as an indicator for the presence of faecal pollution and disease-causing organisms such as Salmonella typhi, has not been detected in the drinking water supplied by Rand Water,” said Rand Water.

“Drinking water supplied by Rand Water complies with drinking water standards and is safe for human consumption.”

Johannesburg Water said it undertakes several tests at its SANAA-accredited Cydna Laboratory.

Johannesburg Water said its laboratory team extracts about 4 700 water samples from facilities such as reservoirs, outlets, and waterways per month and conducts a 23-parameter test on each sample, including tests for bacteria such as Escherichia coli.

As an extra precaution, Johannesburg Water said it was engaging with external and independent laboratories to conduct typhoid tests for bacteria.