6 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Bronchiolitis Cases Continue to Increase in Harare

Harare continues to record an increased number of bronchiolitis, with cases now being recorded at other health facilities such as Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Chitungwiza Central Hospital, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said.

In a recent interview with The Herald, Dr Parirenyatwa said the outbreak seemed to be still concentrated in Harare.

"The outbreak seem to have spread to other institutions, but still concentrated in Harare," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Recently, Harare Central Hospital reported an increase in the number of children presenting with severe bronchiolitis compared to the same period in previous years.

Hospital officials said they were seeing an average of 120 infants a day presenting with symptoms of bronchiolitis and about 140 were admitted.

Commenting on the trend since the beginning of the outbreak, Harare Central Hospital chief executive Ms Peggy Zvavamwe said the cases were still high.

"Cases of children presenting to the facility with bronchiolitis symptoms remain the same although we saw a slight decrease in cases over the weekend, but that does not mean the outbreak is over," she said.

"We are still in a bronchiolitis season."

Ms Zvavamwe said the period between March and April was normally a bronchiolitis season, although this year children started presenting with symptoms as early as February.

She said the hospital procured 35 oxygen flow masks last week to assist in managing the increased number of sick babies.

Chitungwiza Central Hospital spokesperson Mrs Audrey Tasaranarwo said the hospital was receiving increased numbers of infants presenting with bronchiolitis symptoms.

"We are seeing an average of 60 infants a day and the trend has not changed in the past few weeks," said Mrs Tasaranarwo.

Officials at Parirenyatwa Hospital said they had been attending to 65 infants from 12 midnight to 3pm yesterday.

As of 3pm, the casualty ward was still crowded with mothers seeking to have their children attended to.

Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in infants.

It causes inflammation and congestion in the small airways (bronchioles) of the lung and is caused by a virus.

It starts as a common cold, but then progresses to coughing, wheezing and sometimes difficulty in breathing.


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