PSA: Suspected diarrhoea outbreak in Durban

Got this directly from the eThekwini Municipality’s communications department this morning. I’ve posted it unedited.

THE eThekwini Municipality’s Health Unit is issuing a health alert to residents about the suspected outbreak of diarrhoea cases in certain parts of the City. So far a total of 151 people have presented with the disease and two deaths have been reported in the past three months.

Deputy Head of Communicable Disease Services, Dr Ayo Olowolagba said the mostly affected children were males in the 12 months category and most of the children admitted at the hospitals are referred by local clinics for further investigation and some were self referred. For now most cases are at King Edward V111 Hospital.

“About half of the number of cases came from Inanda area and followed by Amaoti. Other areas that were mostly affected were from, in order of frequencies, Ntuzuma area 14(19.7%), Mayville 10(14%), and Kwa-Mashu 7(10%),” he explained.

Olowolagba said parents of all children presenting with any health condition to hospitals are requested to produce a Road to Health card (RTH) in order to assess the immunization status of the child. According to the data collected, it can be revealed that most of the children 45/70 (64%) were immunized. Immunization catch up is done on discharge for those that have missed immunization opportunity.

Mayor James Nxumalo has called on community members to take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the disease. “Our Health Unit is taking the necessary measures to alert the community and to respond appropriately to the problem. People in the affected areas should be vigilant and immediately seek medical assistance if they present with symptoms.”

Dr Olowolagba said the Health Unit has intervened and the following measures have been put in place to address the situation:

• The team will identify and visit the clinics around the affected residential areas.

• Encourage the health workers to be vigilant when taking patient history particularly with regard to provision of sanitation facilities.

• Categorize children according to breast fed versus bottle fed

• The Area Based Outbreak Response Teams (OBRT) will further conduct household visits to ascertain the level of health and hygiene knowledge including the conditions under which food preparation takes place. This will be done by administration of a questionnaire.

• During the household visits, the OBRT will promote health seeking behavior by advising the child minders to send children presenting with diarrhoea to clinics at an early stage.

• Investigation of vaccination batch numbers will be undertaken in order to exclude poor cold chain maintenance and potency of the vaccines

Olowolagba said it has also been reported that 39 cases were iterated at Mahatma Ghandi Hospital but no death reported.

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