Fears of a new cholera outbreak are abound in Harare after council confirmed the death of a 46-year-old man in Stoneridge as a result of the water-borne disease, while the man's sibling who got in contact with him also died in Chitungwiza.
Doctors have not confirmed the other death is cholera-related.
The city's corporate communications manager, Mr Michael Chideme, yesterday said the body of the man was sent to Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital mortuary and council had since set up an emergency tent in Stoneridge to attend to people with cholera symptoms.
"I can confirm one death as a result of cholera," he said.
"There is a 46-year-old man who died in Stoneridge. Our teams are now on the ground tracking all people who had been in contact with him to try and screen them for cholera.
"We are also advising anybody who presents symptoms of cholera, diarrhoea, headaches and fever to present themselves at our health institutions, especially at Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital for treatment and for screening because we cannot take chances with this disease."
Mr Chideme said the disease was only "a bus trip or handshake away", imploring residents not to shake hands, especially at funerals.
He advised residents to ensure that they do not eat cold food.
"Where a death occurs and people suspect it could have been cholera, they should call in the health experts to do a diagnosis so that the disease won't spread," said Mr Chideme.
"As we speak, the body of the 46-year-old man is at Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital mortuary.
"We also have a death of the man's sibling who died in Chitungwiza, who has been in contact with the person, but doctors have not confirmed that cholera is the cause of the death.
"We are sending in water bowsers to Stoneridge and we are also setting up an emergency tent there to attend to people presenting symptoms related to cholera."
Acting Town Clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said too many illegal settlements had mushroomed in the recent years.
"These are mainly in Harare South, Budiriro, Kuwadzana and Dzivarasekwa, where people are settling," he said.
"As City of Harare, we are going to all those areas to see how we can regularise them so that people can start to get ownership of the areas they have settled on.
"We are also looking at facilities in those settlements. Those who settled in land meant for schools and other social amenities will be relocated, but they are just a few people if you take for example Hopley."
Eng Chisango said council will extend the programme to Budiriro where many people had queries.
"We want people to be settled, we want to provide water and other services including roads so that there will be sanity," he said.
"We are urging residents to desist from buying stands without verifying from council. They should visit our district offices to ensure there are no double allocations."
A number of people are settled without necessary records and council will be carrying out a verification exercise.