A typhoid outbreak has hit Harare and Chitungwiza, with at least 111 confirmed cases by yesterday.
City officials attributed the outbreak to water shortages in the city and its satellite towns of Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth.
Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.
Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth receive water from Harare whose water treatment plant is facing mechanical problems.
The majority of the cases are in Chitungwiza where at least 83 people were treated for the disease.
Harare had 28 confirmed cases, with 25 of them occurring at a supermarket in the Avenues area, while three were in Mabvuku/Tafara suburb.
City health services director Dr Prosper Chonzi said the supermarket has since been barred from selling fresh, raw and cooked foods.
"We are still tracing the customers who bought food from the supermarket," he said.
"We have a full outbreak response team in Mabvuku and Tafara. We have stationed a doctor at Mabvuku clinic to attend to the cases."
Dr Chonzi said six of the affected people were detained at the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital.
He said the majority of the cases were treated and discharged depending on the severity of their conditions.
The outbreak in Tafara and Mabvuku, Dr Chonzi said, was caused by the use of unprotected wells.
He said the outbreak in Chitungwiza was posing serious threats to Harare because of the high human traffic between the two urban centres.
Chitungwiza acting director of health services Mr Herbert Chiroodza said they would drill boreholes in the affected areas.
"We did alert Harare City Council and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare on the outbreak," he said.
"We have since made negotiations with Harare so that the affected areas do not experience water cuts during this outbreak."
Chitungwiza residents urged the authorities to address the water situation before the disease gets worse.
The residents believe that a death which occurred in the location was linked to the outbreak and that people who attended the man's burial could have contracted and passed on the disease.
"We used to get tap water thrice a week, but now we are getting it only once a week. Can you imagine that we last had supplies on Saturday and we do not know when we are going to have tap water," said Mrs Kudzanai Joseph.
She said residents have no choice, but to dig shallow wells at their homes.
Another resident, Ms Nyasha Kujeke, who is still recuperating from typhoid, said the municipality must act urgently on the disease.
"Everyone is sick in this area. We do not know where else to get safe drinking water," she said.
"The boreholes are overwhelmed, our wells are contaminated. Should we buy bottled water while we are paying water bills to council?"
Harare town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi said on Tuesday that most of Harare would not have adequate water because of the mechanical problems.
The water problems have been traced to Norton, which is accused of discharging 10 million litres of raw sewer close to Harare's raw water abstraction point.
Norton chief executive officer Mr Winslow Muyambi confirmed his council was discharging raw sewer into Lake Manyame.