CHOLERA might have found its way into Harare already following indications that a sizable number of people from Harare attended a funeral of an 80 year old woman who died from Cholera in Chegutu last week.
By Michael Gwarisa
Briefing Journalists in Harare this afternoon, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa said the four people who died of Cholera last week had come into contact with body fluids from the 80 year old woman in the process of conducting a burial ritual which involves washing the body and entrails.
The deceased, a member of the Chawa/Muslim religion was believed to be a senior member of her family and religion and her funeral attracted mourners from various parts including Harare’s Mabvuku and Epworth.
“As we got to Chegutu last week, we learnt that it was a religious funeral. It was a funeral for the Chawa religion and we learnt that the funeral was not just attended by people from Chegutu, we heard that there were addresses from Mabvuku, addresses from Epworth, so it is worrying for us because now if they go to Mabvuku or Epworth, they become siblings for Cholera if they have contracted it.
“That is why the whole country has to be on alert. Although the cases are coming down, we are still on alert and cautious of the fact that some may still be incubating the Vibrio bacteria. Supervised burials are being done and probation of consumption of food at the funeral gatherings and shacking of hands.
“Active surveillance including contact tracing of persons who attended the funerals of the Cholera deaths being followed up in Harare and other areas,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Meanwhile, the minister dismissed possibilities of suspending church gatherings as was and still is the case in some parts of Zambia which also is still reeling from the effects of Cholera.
So far, 32 cases of Cholera and four deaths have been recorded in Chegutu. Government has set up a Cholera treatment centre at Chinengundu clinic in Chegutu, close to where the deaths and cases are emanating from.