Third Case Of Cholera Confirmed In Gauteng Linked To Malawi Outbreak

Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Health on Wednesday said a third case of cholera had been confirmed.

The department said it “would like to inform the public about the third confirmed cholera case, which was reported yesterday, 7 February in Johannesburg”. 

The first confirmed cholera case involved two sisters who recently returned to Johannesburg from neighbouring Malawi by bus. The sisters were diagnosed with the disease on the 1st and 3rd of February in Johannesburg.

Cholera is an annual problem during Malawi’s rainy months from November to March, when the number of deaths is around 100 a year. But this year the cases of cholera and resultant deaths have been significantly higher.

UNICEF reports that: “As of 29 January 2023, 33 608 cholera cases and 1 931 deaths have been registered in Malawi; this includes 10 000 children’s cases and 1 622 children’s deaths as of 22 January 2023”.

The Gauteng department of health said the latest confirmed case of cholera was that of the husband of one of the sisters, who have since recovered. 

“He presented with symptoms at a health facility and was immediately admitted on Saturday, (4 February 2023), for further tests to be conducted,” said the department. 

“The patient is in a stable condition.” 

The department advised people to visit their nearest health facilities when they present with mild to severe and watery diarrhoea and dehydration symptoms. 

“Furthermore, we urge the public to practice proper hand hygiene which includes thorough washing of hands with water and soap before and after using the bathroom and also when preparing or eating food,” said the department. 

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Most people who receive treatment survive the disease.

The department said it has activated outbreak response teams and surveillance efforts have been increasingly working closely with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the World Health Organization, and the National Department of Health to monitor cholera cases.