The National Department of Health has confirmed that Gauteng has at least ten cholera cases. This comes after the department announced four additional infections on Wednesday, weeks after six other cases were discovered in the province. Unfortunately, one person has died from the disease, mainly spread through contaminated water and food.
According to Eyewitness News, the Department of Health has explained that the four new cases followed baptism ceremonies at Gauteng’s rivers. For example, a couple from Diepsloot was hospitalised with acute watery diarrhoea and severe dehydration after being baptised in the Jukskei River. The woman who baptised them also tested positive after drinking water from the same river. In addition, a 10-year-old child in Katlehong was diagnosed with cholera after being baptised with other church members at the Klip River.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can be fatal if left untreated. However, most infected people will experience no or mild symptoms and can be treated successfully with oral rehydration. Safe water and sanitation are essential to curb and control cholera transmission and other waterborne diseases. For severe cases, rapid treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics is needed. Additionally, oral cholera vaccines can be combined with improvements in water and sanitation to control outbreaks and prevent the disease in high-risk areas. In 2017, a global strategy was launched to reduce cholera deaths by 90% by 2030.