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UPDATE | Hammanskraal residents urged not to drink tap water as diarrhoeal disease deaths rise to 10

MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko is seen at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.

MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko is seen at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in Johannesburg.

PHOTO: Papi Morake, Gallo Images

  • The death toll from a diarrhoeal disease outbreak in Hammanskraal has risen to 10.
  • A total of 67 people have presented to hospital with gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Residents of Hammanskraal and surrounding areas have been urged to refrain from drinking tap water.

The Gauteng health department says another person has died after presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, bringing the death toll to 10 on Sunday.

Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, was on Sunday visiting the Jubilee District Hospital in Hammanskraal to assess the situation.

READ | Six dead in Gauteng as Department of Health warns of Diarrhoeal disease outbreak, rising cholera cases

By Saturday, 50 people had gone to the hospital, complaining of gastrointestinal symptoms.

The Gauteng health department on Sunday said it had risen to 95 people – in Kanana, Suurman, Majaneng and Greenfield.

They had diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting symptoms.

The department said in a statement:

The provincial and district outbreak response teams were dispatched to Jubilee Hospital and the affected areas to further investigate the source of the diarrhoeal disease and to raise awareness among communities.

The department added that stool specimens were collected from some of the affected people. 

“Results are expected from the laboratory during the course of the weekend. The outbreak response teams remain on high alert, with advocacy and education work continuing, especially targeting the immediately affected areas.” 

On Sunday, the cumulative number of positive cholera cases had increased to 37, following the detection of four more cases in Gauteng, and seven cases in the Vredefort and Parys areas in the Free State.

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Meanwhile, the City of Tshwane urged communities in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas not to drink tap water following a health outbreak in the area.

“While the water supplied in Hammanskraal is not potable, the City does provide potable (drinkable) water through 52 water tankers to informal settlements three times a week, and 40 water trucks to formal areas daily in Region 2. This is done to ensure that communities drink safe water,” City of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said in a statement.

The City added that it regularly conducted tests on the quality of water provided to communities – and, after the outbreak, comprehensive tests would be done on the entire water distribution network.

Water samples were collected in the affected areas and taken for tests.

Results were expected on Wednesday to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Some of the cases reported were from the Moretele area, which is not supplied by the City of Tshwane.

“The City would like to encourage residents in the affected areas to regularly wash the containers they use to draw water from the water tankers with Jik [bleach] detergent, and to boil water drawn from other sources before drinking it. Communities are also urged not to conduct religious activities, such as baptism, in the rivers or streams.”

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