Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
NKAYI has been hit by a diarrhoea outbreak with more than 80 cases having been recorded since last week.
The first cases were recorded following a football tournament that was held in Sebhumane area last week on Sunday.
Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Nyasha Masuka said health teams have been sent to the affected areas.
“I can confirm that there are diarrhoea cases that have been recorded at two health centres in the past week. Last Wednesday six football players went to one of our clinics, three days after a football tournament, suffering from diarrhoea and fever.
“The first six cases were recorded at Sebhumane Rural Centre on Wednesday and they were managed. On Thursday and Friday, Sikhobokhobo Rural Centre received about 53 cases whilst Sebhumane received another 27 cases of diarrhoea,” he said.
Dr Masuka said contaminated water was suspected to be the major cause of the outbreak, but tests were being conducted.
“Initially we suspected food poisoning because the first six people to present themselves were players at the tournament but we then ruled it out when we began to receive more cases from people who had not attended the football tournament. The incubation period of whatever it is that was affecting them also increased our doubts on food poisoning. They had the tournament on Sunday and only started presenting themselves at the health centre on Wednesday.”
He said they suspect that people drank contaminated water.
Dr Masuka said some of the people drank water from Shangani River.
“We sent out an investigating team to get water samples at five strategic points in the water bodies within that locality. Stool tests were also taken.
“Apparently, due to more cases coming from downstream, on the other side of Shangani River, it means there is still need for active case finding as the contamination could be on a larger area than we had suspected. Today we are sending out another team to collect more samples. World Vision, District Administrators and the President’s Office are assisting us in the exercise,” he said.